Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
When the Los Angeles Angels unceremoniously released the future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, many Dodger fans, including me, thought Pujols would be a perfect fit for the Dodgers. However, we cannot guess what President Andrew Friedman would do to improve the Dodgers whose bench was awful at pinch-hitting. All of us were pleasantly surprised when Pujols joined the Dodgers, and he played an integral role in the 2021 Dodger success. If the National League adopts the designated hitter (DH) rule, the Dodgers should re-sign Tìo Albert to be their DH against right-handed pitching.
Pujols was a happy-go-lucky Dodger who gave every Dodger a bear hug after he hit a home run. His 21-year experience and obvious joy of playing baseball gave the Dodgers a positive influence in the Dodger clubhouse and dugout. During the 2021 season, the Dodgers frequently looked pressured to win. While Major League Baseball is a big business, baseball is a game and needs to be fun. Pujols helped to remind the young Dodgers of baseball being a fun game.
While Pujols’ range at first base has decreased over his twenty-year Major-League career, he is still a decent first baseman. If he can get to the ball, he knows what to do with the ball instinctively. He cannot stretch as far as he could earlier in his career, but he will catch every ball within his reach. He cannot be an everyday first baseman, but he is a decent reserve.
Arguably, Pujols is the greatest hitter of his generation. He only needs 31 home runs to have 700 in his Major-League career. With more than three thousand hits, he gives his team a quality at-bat every time he comes to bat. He murders right-handed pitching. He had seventeen homers in 2021, twelve as a Dodger.
This winter Pujols will play competitively in his native Dominican Republic. Friedman will not make a mistake if he re-signs Pujols since he is an excellent role model for the younger Dodgers.