The Los Angeles Dodgers finalized the signing of Albert Pujols to a one-year contract, and in his first press conference after joining the team, cleared up any speculation and confusion over desired role.
It has been reported the L.A. Angels released Pujols due to not having an everyday role at first base he was said to covet. With the Dodgers having Max Muncy entrenched at the position, that opportunity wasn’t going to come with the Dodgers, and therefore his signing struck some as odd.
“I’m really excited to help this organization this year to get another ring,” Pujols said. “I’m here to do whatever. Pinch-hit, first base, whatever they want. I think at the end of the day I’m just excited to have this opportunity to wear this uniform.
“I’m glad to be here. A bunch of great guys in this clubhouse and they’re already making me feel at home. … I really love the gameplan Doc (Dave Roberts) and Andrew (Friedman) have.”
Pujols further refuted the notion he demanded an everyday role with the Angels, highlighting his 86 at-bats this season being much more than anticipated to this point in the season. “I was excited with the playing time I got there,” Pujols said of being with the Angels.
Though, his latest remarks contradict what Pujols expressed to reporters in late April.
Nevertheless, Corey Seager’s injury requiring Gavin Lux to slide over to shortstop for the time being could amount to Muncy playing some second base and Pujols making more starts than perhaps initially expected. At minimum, he gives the Dodgers a needed right-handed option off the bench.
Pujols latest former MVP with Dodgers
Pujols marks a fourth former MVP winner (2005, 2008, 2009) to be part of the Dodgers, joining Clayton Kershaw (2014), Mookie Betts (2018) and Cody Bellinger (2019). The team additionally has a pitching staff with three Cy Young winners in Kershaw, David Price and Trevor Bauer.
The Dodgers are the fourth team in MLB history to have four former MVPs, joining the 1978 Cincinnati Reds, 1982 Angels and 1996 Red Sox. None of the previous three teams reached the World Series.
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