Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
According to many sources, the Los Angeles Dodgers will sign the future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols.
When the Anaheim Angels unceremonially released Pujols a week from last Thursday, I thought it would be good if the Dodgers sign him, but I did not speculate in this column whether the Dodgers would sign Pujols. Normally, the Dodgers would not need the aging first baseman, particularly when the National League does not have a designated hitter.
Even before the 2021 season began, the Dodgers needed an experienced right-handed hitter. Re-signing Justin Turner helped the situation, but it did not solve the need for an experienced right-handed hitter. Team president Andrew Friedman acquired Sheldon Neuse from the Oakland Athletics for the left-handed reliever Adam Koralek, but so far this season, Neuse has not shown he is ready for the Major Leagues.
Injuries have decimated the Dodger bench. No team with championship aspirations can succeed with a weak bench. This past offseason the Dodgers lost both Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernàndez to free agency, yet they have not replaced them. The rookie Zach McKinstry, a left-handed utility fielder, began the season hot, but then, he strained his oblique. Edwin Rìos will miss the remainder of the season with a partially torn labrum that needs surgical repair. Saturday, the Dodgers put AJ Pollock, who has a strained hamstring, on the IL. They have both Luke Raley and DJ Peters, and both could use more playing time in Triple-A to perfect their swing.
While Pujols’ baseball skills have diminished over his twenty-one-year Major-League career, he will be an asset to the Dodgers. He can be a pinch hitter. He can play first base, allowing Max Muncy either to rest or to play third base. He gives the team veteran leadership that will help the Dodgers know what they need to do to return to the World Series. During his career, he has been a pillar in the community.