Albert Pujols expected to join the Dodgers

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Top photo of Albert Pujols by Claudia Gestro

Do you want to hear — read — some crazy news? Albert Pujols, recently released by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (seriously, just be the Anaheim Angels), is expected to be with the Los Angeles Dodgers as of Monday, May 17. According to sports news insiders like the L.A. Times and USA Today reporters, and  Alden Gonzalez of ESPN who said the Dodgers will pay the pro-rated part of the MPB minimum wage, roughly $420,000 and the Angels will pay the rest of Pujols’ $30 million salary this season.

Former Angels slugger Albert Pujols
(Claudia Gestro)

The right swinging first baseman and slugger was in the final season of his Angels contract when the team first designated Pujols for assignment and then released him May 13. All the fans in Anaheim were in jubilation with the prospect of the Halos, led by veteran, two-time World Series champion Albert Pujols and new, young slugger Mike Trout making it into the postseason and then possibly winning it all when Pujols left the St Louis Cardinals. After the team’s announcement that Pujols would be leaving, many in Halo country were shocked. Some were relieved. The Angels need pitching — badly.

The Halos made it into the playoffs once in the time Pujols has been with the team.

The one time the Angels have won the World Series was in 2002 when Mike Scioscia was the manager. Now the Angels have manager Joe Maddon leading the team. He took the Chicago Cubs to a World Series win in 2016. Can he do it with the Halos? People are saying, hoping, the answer is yes. Mike Trout is coming to the end of his contract and if they can’t get in the playoffs this season people have to wonder if Trout will stay in Anaheim.

Pujols, on the other hand, is allegedly going to be with the reigning World Series champions, the team considered the best in all of baseball, not just the National League. Yeah, the standings and stats right now say otherwise, but come on, it’s early in the season so the standings right now mean exactly squat.

Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger
(Claudia Gestro)

As of this writing the Los Angeles Dodgers are third in the National League West Division, behind the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres. They are going through a deep spate of injuries: fire throwing pitcher Dustin May, pitchers David Price, Scott Alexander and Cat Man Tony Gonsolin. Along with sluggers Cody Bellinger, Zach McKinstry and most recently Edwin Rios. That isn’t even the full list of injuries.

So, adding the man who is #5 on the all-time home run list with 667 dingers and over 3,000 hits is almost a no-brainer. He will be a welcome addition to a team that is in need of some right-handed power hitting.

Max Muncy is doing very well at first base, so how Pujols will fit in is the question. Muncy can play other spots in the infield and probably in the outfield, so the Dodgers can put Pujols at first when they need to and they can find many ways to need Albert in the lineup.

My favorite team, the Milwaukee Brewers, are #2 in the National League Central Division, three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals (spitting in the general direction of St. Louis). The Brewers can make it back to the top of the division and eventually defeat them effin’ Cardinals (spitting in the general direction of St. Louis), with the National League Pennant and then eventually the 2021 World Series.

Scoff if you like haters, but the Brew Crew are contenders. Sure, the Dodgers are the odds on favorites to repeat, but there’s still a lot of season left. With the way the Padres are playing, and of course the Giants, nothing is guaranteed for Los Angeles. Manager Dave Roberts knows that implicitly. Just ask him in a pre or post game presser. You might get him a little pissed off asking about the post season this early in the regular season.

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts
(Claudia Gestro)

Like all the contenders in this league, Dave Roberts and the Dodgers play one game at a time, focusing on the current or next game. With Albert Pujols in their dugout the Dodgers will instantly become better.

Sure, Albert Pujols was having a slow start this season, but baseball fans everywhere know that with great players like Pujols, slumps end and often with an explosion. If Pujols does that in Dodger Blue and maybe even hit his way into the 700 club (this season or next) Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman will look like a baseball savant, especially if Pujols gets 20 or more home runs this season. That’s kind of a given if Pujols enters only 60% of the remaining games. He already has five with 12 RBI. His batting average is just .198, but we can expect that to move up well over .200.

Well, come Monday we will see. Will Albert Pujols be wearing a Dodgers uniform? Probably. It’s being reported all over the sports world. Check Twitter and search on Albert Pujols. The man will certainly be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. It would be nice to see him end his career with another championship and maybe joining the 700 club.

We all need good news right now and Albert Pujols back at it this season is good news for many. It would have been nice had he considered the Brewers …

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In 2017 our sports reporter Claudia Gestro spoke with Albert Pujols shortly after he hit his 600th home run. They talked about the Angels and his foundation, the Pujols Family Foundation.