The Los Angeles Dodgers have added another former MVP to their already vaunted roster of talent.
Former Cardinals and Angels slugger, Albert Pujols, has agreed to sign with the reigning World Series Champion Dodgers for the remainder of the 2021 regular season, sources confirmed to NBC LA, confirming a story originally reported by Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times.
Pujols, 41, was designated for assignment by the Angels on May 6, and officially released by the team and free to sign elsewhere on Thursday. He was in the final year of his original 10-year, $240 million contact with the Angels. Per Castillo, the Dodgers will pay him a prorated share of the $570,500 league minimum.
At the time, Angels General Manager, Perry Minasian, told reporters that Pujols was unwilling to accept a part-time bench role with the Angels, and requested his release. However, after signing with the Dodgers who already have an everyday starter in first baseman Max Muncy, it is assumed he will be taking on a similar role with the reigning champs.
Pujols provides much needed depth for a Dodgers team that has been depleted by injuries in recent weeks. He also is a future Hall of Famer, and former MVP that crushes left-handed pitching, something the Dodgers have struggled against this season.
It’s also possible that Pujols could play a platoon-type role at times with the Dodgers, allowing them to make double-switches late in games, or give much-needed rest to veteran players like Justin Turner and Muncy. Pujols can play first or third base if need be.
Despite the fact that Pujols is batting just .198 this season in 92 at-bats, he is still considered one of the best right-handed hitters in the history of the game. He currently is fifth in MLB history in home runs with 667 and 13th in hits with 3,253. He may have a chance to eclipse 700 career home runs if he gets enough at-bats with the Dodgers.
He becomes the fourth former MVP to sign with the Dodgers, joining Clayton Kershaw (2014), Mookie Betts (2018), and Cody Bellinger (2019).
Pujols will once again become the oldest active player in baseball once he signs with the Dodgers.
Per sources, the deal is not expected to be completed until Monday.