The Dodgers watched a lot of their free agents walk away this offseason. Corey Seager signed a massive deal with the Texas Rangers, Kenley Jansen took a one-year contract with the Braves, and Corey Knebel went on to pitch for the Phillies. For the moment, Cole Hamels remains the only Los Angeles free agent yet to sign a deal.
But the Dodgers will be missing a clubhouse piece heading into 2022. Albert Pujols showed up last season and immediately earned the respect and attention of everyone in the lockerroom. The way he went about the game and mentored young players was incredibly invaluable for them.
Pujols signed a deal with the Cardinals this week to return to his roots. He will get to play with the team that he came up with, and now likely will get to retire there with them as well. When asked about the signing, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had nothing but smiles and praise.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 28, 2022
Pujols was huge for the injured Dodgers last year. Rather than only taking on pinch-hit opportunities, he showed up and posted a 101 OPS+ and provided some late-career pop as well. But those relationships that he developed inside of the clubhouse are what made Pujols so loveable in Los Angeles.
As a baseball fan, you can’t help but to love the signing. To quote Billy Beane, “How can you not get romantic about baseball?”
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