Dodgers Prioritized Honesty & Communication With Albert Pujols

On the surface the Los Angeles Dodgers signing Albert Pujols to a one-year contract is a curious fit. The aging slugger has struggled at the plate this season and doesn’t offer the positional versatility the Dodgers value.

There also were reports the L.A. Angels released Pujols in large part due to wanting an everyday role at first base — which he did refute. Prior to finalizing the agreement, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts spoke with Pujols to ensure he had an understanding of expectations.

“I think the most important thing in that conversation was for everyone to be open, honest and transparent, and also acknowledge we don’t know exactly what things are going to look like a week from now, two weeks from now, a month from now,” Friedman explained.

“Walked through how we saw things in the near term and after that, (AJ) Pollock got hurt, (Corey) Seager got hurt, so things are fluid and changing all the time. But I thought it was really important for us to walk through all different scenarios and be upfront and honest with him about how different things could play out.

“We got through that conversation and obviously you guys talked to him earlier, but he was excited. He was excited about joining this group. It was a really productive conversation and I think just puts everyone in the right frame of mind going forward of how things could potentially play out.”

That sentiment was echoed by Roberts, who added, “I think honesty and being upfront. Knowing Andrew and how we do things as the Dodgers, I think being as transparent with the player is the best way to go so there’s no bait and switch.

“We painted as good of a picture that it can go in any different direction. He made a decision that this is the best place for him. So with that, now it’s our job to kind of navigate each game. The roster and how all that looks, no one really knows right now. I think the main thing we wanted to do was communicate, be up front with him and that was it.”

Dodgers’ plan for Pujols

Pujols declined to provide specifics but did say he was on board with what the Dodgers presented to him in terms of playing time and role.

As Friedman indicated, that could evolve at any given time. It already has since their conversation, and Roberts acknowledged Pujols will make more starts at first base than initially expected because of the domino effect from the injury to Corey Seager.

“It’s continuing to talk through, but as far as just getting him at-bats, keeping him relevant, taking at-bats off the bench, there’s going to be games he’s going to start and we have other guys on the bench that we feel can defend and kind of re-align if you want to call it a line shift,” Roberts said.

“I know Albert is open to that. Just kind of use him to help us win baseball games. He’s a part of our roster and like Andrew said, this is a guy that made a decision to be all-in for what we’re doing to win a championship. I see no problems going forward.”

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, participate in our shows and giveaways, and more!