MLB

Pujols swaps Angels for LA rivals Dodgers: I've still got some gasoline left in my tank

By Sports Desk May 17, 2021

Albert Pujols will continue his remarkable MLB career with World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers after leaving city rivals the Los Angeles Angels.

Pujols' future was in limbo after the Angels designated the future Hall of Famer for assignment earlier this month, less than two months into the last season of the slugger's 10-year, $240million contract.

Following speculation over his next move, 10-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion Pujols signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers on Monday.

The stacked Dodgers now boast four former MVPs in Pujols, Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger.

"I feel like I've still got some gasoline left in my tank," the 41-year-old told reporters during his introductory news conference.

The oldest active player in the majors and one of the greatest sluggers in baseball history, Pujols' 667 home runs rank fifth while his 669 doubles are also fifth-most of all time, but he has been batting mere .198 this season, though has homered five times and is fourth on the Angels with 12 RBIs.

Only Hank Aaron has more RBIs than Pujols' 2,112 since it became an official statistic in 1920, and Pujols is 13th on the all-time hits list with 3,253.

"They were really excited to have me here, and that's what led me to make this decision to come here," Pujols said. "I'm really excited to help this organisation this year to get another ring."

Pujols enjoyed great success with the St Louis Cardinals, where he led the franchise to two World Series championships, one other National League (NL) pennant and six division crowns.

A unanimous NL Rookie of the Year Award winner in 2001 when he hit .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs, Pujols made his first of nine All-Star selections with the Cardinals.

In his 11 seasons in St Louis, Pujols won three NL MVP Awards and finished in the top five in voting seven other times. 

He left St Louis after helping the Cardinals win the 2011 World Series to sign a lucrative deal with the Angels.

After slugging 445 home runs with 455 doubles while slashing .328/.420/.617 for a 1.037 OPS in 1,705 games over 11 seasons with the Cardinals, Pujols never lived up to expectations over 10 seasons with the Angels, hitting 222 homers with 214 doubles with a .256/.311/.447 slash line for a .758 OPS in 1,181 games.

His production dropped off significantly in the past four seasons, with 53 homers and a .239/.290/.414 slash line for a .704 OPS in 311 games.

He only earned one trip to the All-Star game since joining the Angels and the franchise made just one postseason appearance, getting swept by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 American League Division Series (ALDS).

"I told them I'm here to do whatever -- pinch-hit, first base, whatever they want," Pujols said regarding his role with the Dodgers. "I think at the end of the day, I'm just excited to have this opportunity to wear this uniform.

"I've been playing against this organisation long enough on the other side. I can see how they go about it. That's something that I wanted to be part of."

Pujols added: "I don't have to show the Angels or anybody. I'm just going to go be myself out there and play the game. I love this game. I enjoy this game."

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