The Los Angeles Dodgers jumped at the opportunity to sign Albert Pujols for the remainder of the 2021 season after he was suddenly released by the L.A. Angels in May.
Injuries wound up leading to Pujols making more starts than initially expected. From the time of signing with the Dodgers through June, he was in the lineup for 18 of 30 games.
As key players returned from the injured list, Pujols shifted back to more of a bench role that the Dodgers envisioned when adding him to their roster. Overall with L.A., he batted .254/.299/.460 with three doubles, 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 85 games (37 starts).
Pujols more recently played in the Dominican Winter League and has indicated he plans to return for his 22nd season. If he does continue his career, the 42-year-old undoubtedly will benefit from the implementation of a universal designated hitter being part of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
According to Mike Rodriguez of Univision, the St. Louis Cardinals and Seattle Mariners and Colorado Rockies are among the teams interested in signing Pujols:
Fuente : Cardenales, Mariners y Rockies en comunicación con la máquina Albert Pujols me dicen que Colorado es el más interesado ✍🏽@hgomez27
— Mike Rodriguez | Univision 🍥 (@mikedeportes) March 11, 2022
However, that report was followed by Jon Heyman of MLB Network ruling out the Rockies for Pujols:
Three teams are reportedly in on alltime great Albert Pujols but not all those on twitter r correct. Rockies are not. Mariners maybe but would be interesting since Pujols is said to have sided with Scioscia in the disputes with DiPoto. Cards would be crowd pleaser. @Feinsand 1st
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 12, 2022
Prior to the MLB lockout beginning, there was speculation Pujols could look to rejoin the Cardinals, whom he spent the first 11 seasons of his career. The Mariners and Rockies are also looking to add bats in free agency, and Pujols showed last season he still has plenty left in the tank.
Beyond those teams, the Dodgers could look to bring Pujols back in the same role he had last season. Along with his production on the field, the future Hall of Famer was a welcomed presence in the clubhouse and regularly received praise from manager Dave Roberts and several players for a willingness to mentor others.
Dodgers among interested teams in Soler
If Pujols signs elsewhere, the Dodgers may already have a potential replacement in mind in 2021 World Series MVP Jorge Soler. The 30-year-old struggled with the Kansas City Royals but benefitted from a midseason trade to the Atlanta Braves and quickly became a force in the lineup.
Over 55 regular-season games with Braves, Soler batted .269/.358/.524 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI. His second-half success carried into the playoffs and amounted to stellar power numbers in the postseason.
L.A. has additionally been linked to Nelson Cruz, who would solidify the DH spot.
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