He spent the better part of the last 10 years with the Los Angeles Angels, but the reality is that he has been declining for a while and the situation got to the point that the Halos released him on May 13.
After four days as a free agent (a few more days if we consider that the Angels first designated him for assignment), the Dodgers signed him to a one-year contract.
He signed for the league minimum, and made exactly $426,313 during his time with the Dodgers.
Of course, the Angels were on the hook for most of the $30 million he collected on the year.
Considering he is now 41, well past his prime, and plays first base, he doesn’t have much of a market.
What could a new deal look like?
He Wants To Extend His Career
Well, for starters, let’s make it clear that Pujols wants to keep playing in the bigs.
He played some winter ball in the Dominican Republic, with Leones del Escogido.
In a recent interview, he said that he is keeping himself in shape and ready in case a team comes calling for his services.
Albert Pujols is ready for whatever comes next in his career. / Albert Pujols está preparado para lo que venga en su carera.
— La Vida Baseball (@LaVidaBaseball) January 6, 2022
Does he still have something to offer major league teams besides experience and a great clubhouse presence?
You might be surprised by the answer, but yes.
There is something Pujols still excels at, even at 41: hitting left-handed pitching.
In 2021, his overall line was below-average: not a disaster, but a bit subpar judging by wRC+ (weighted Runs Created Plus, which considers 100 as the “average” value).
Pujols slashed .236/.284/.433 in 2021, with 17 home runs and a 90 wRC+.
He was basically very bad with the Angels (.198/.250/.372, five homers, 65 wRC+) and average with the Dodgers (.254/.299/.460, 12 homers, 101 wRC+).
Against right-handed pitching, the hulking slugger hit .180/.233/.266 with a putrid 36 wRC+ (he was 64 percent worse than his peers).
However, against southpaws, he hit an excellent .294/.336/.603 with a 146 wRC+.
Albert Pujols still got it vs lefties 👀 pic.twitter.com/QfWRve6DTm
— Fuzzy (@fuzzyfromyt) September 6, 2021
He wasn’t just decent against lefties, he was great!
13 of his homers were against them, despite taking three fewer at-bats against them when compared to right-handers (136 to 139).
Will There Be An Opportunity For Him?
If MLB finally implements the universal designated hitter rule, perhaps there will be a team willing to fit him in a major league roster, knowing he is still good enough to be an asset against left-handers.
Despite this, odds are against him when it comes to finding an MLB deal worth more than the league minimum.
There is a chance he has to settle for a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training when all is said and done.
Our guess is that Pujols would be okay with the payment at this point: after all, he has earned about $339,210,741, per Spotrac (just in MLB salary, not counting endorsement deals and other ventures).
If he had to, he would probably play for free.
We are guessing he wants to keep playing for the love of the game.
There might be a deal for him somewhere out there.