Baseball: Albert Pujols is reborn with the Dodgers after a gray decade

Albert Pujols ended his ten-year cycle with the Anaheim Angels to join the Dodgers, baseball champions.

Albert Pujols in 2021

The veteran agreed with not being an undisputed starter, but his arrival in the champion team has not done anything bad. Photo: Dodgers

LatinAmerican Post | Pablo Arrivillaga

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Leer en español: Béisbol: Albert Pujols renace con los Dodgers tras una década gris

It seemed like the end of Albert Pujols' career had come after a dull decade with the Angels of Anaheim. The Dominican first baseman is one of the deadliest hitters in baseball history, and when it seemed that the end was near, new hope arrived after moving to the other side of Los Angeles, to defend the colors of the current champions, the Dodgers.

Pujols, also known as "The Machine," came to the Dodgers' lineup as a possible alternative and as someone who would surely not be a starter on a team already riddled with superstars. The ideal thing would be to assign him the role of the designated hitter, a place that does not exist in the old Las Mayores circuit. The veteran agreed with not being an undisputed starter, but his arrival in the champion team has not done anything bad.

Maintaining the competition for the West division of the National with Giants and Padres, the Dodgers sow many doubts in these first months of the season. Pujols' addition to the team has been vital in keeping the flame burning at a conference that is perhaps the highest voltage in all of MLB.

For the 41-year-old first baseman, the brightest years of his career were behind him when he joined the Anaheim franchise. He left Saint Louis after 11 brilliant seasons in which he won two World Series titles and was, along with Puerto Rican Yadier Molina, one of the icons of the Cardinals.

Also read: Fernando Tatis Jr. returns the illusion to the San Diego Padres

Their numbers back it up considerably. Noting that he is the player not born in the United States with the most homers in the majors (currently with 673), noting that he recently surpassed Willie Mays and is on the hunt for Alex Rodríguez.

Dull in the city of stars

When "The Machine" joined the Anaheim Angels, it was expected that he would be a mainstay of what would become one of the dominant franchises in the American League, but both the hope of putting the Dominican as a lynchpin alongside Mike Trout, as the goal of being an unstoppable force in the collective aspect, they were left in limbo. Pujols's stint in Anaheim was frustrating, as a group and individual achievements stalled. The Angels have not managed to be the projected portentous team since 2011 and may not be in the near future despite having small-caliber hitters and pitchers.

The Dominican went from being three times most valuable player in the Cardinals to being 10 years in oblivion with a team that never managed to have a solid structure and with which he was never close to winning a championship.

Same city, new airs

Pujols came to the Dodgers on May 17 after being released by the Angels. And his hiring brought a lot of optimism to the baseball champion franchise and has been well received by everyone in the organization. Even the players around him have sheltered him in a special way to make him feel at home.

The team's longest-running starter, Clayton Kershaw, with whom he will surely share a place in Cooperstown, has expressed that everyone on the squad is looking to do their best so as not to disappoint the newcomer.

Off the field, things are going great for the Dominican, and on the pitch, he has also regained his smile. With 11 home runs this season (through June 20), he has sent 6 balls out of bounds since arriving at Dodger Stadium, one more than he produced at the start of the season with the Angels.

With a batting average in excess of 220, it seems that Pujols has reinvented himself playing for the Dodgers, his incorporation has sat well and he seems to be established as the team's first baseman as Corey Seager returns. Of course, Pujols will not be the same as when he was playing for the Cardinals, but he has definitely proven not who he was with the Angels and projects to offer much more.

Is this your last season? He responds with a serene "we will see", but if this is the last we will see of Albert Pujols, future Hall of Fame, at least we will see him close his story with a flourish.

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