With the designated hitter coming to the National League in 2022, it appears MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has cleared a path for the St. Louis Cardinals to bring Albert Pujols home.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred addressed members of the media on Wednesday to discuss progress in negotiations between the MLB and MLBPA.
While a resolution has yet to conclude in a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and players union, Manfred said some decisions have been made for the future of the league. One of those decisions is that the designated hitter will be in the National League.
National League clubs will be scouring their clubs, the free-agent pool, and trade opportunities to find the perfect fit for this new position on their club.
While the St. Louis Cardinals have many plug-and-play options with a roster filled with depth at several positions. Paul Goldschmidt, Tyler O’Neill, and Nolan Arenado would all be excellent options for the designated hitter. But, having them play designated hitters would leave them off the field for defense. All three were Rawlings Gold Glove winners in 2021.
This leaves the Cardinals with a perfect opening to bring back a St. Louis favorite.
St Louis Cardinals: Time to bring Albert Pujols home
Albert Pujols spent the first 11 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the St. Louis Cardinals. During his time with the organization, he earned many awards along with the hearts of Cardinals Nation. He upset many by leaving the organization in 2012 – months after helping the club to their 11th World Series championship in 2011 – by accepting a lucrative deal with the Anaheim Angels.
To the shock of some fans, the Angels released Pujols allowing both to move on. He did sign a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers to finish out the 2021 season. He is now a free agent.
Time heals all wounds and when Pujols returned to St. Louis to play the Cardinals while with the Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was a success for the player and the organization. The fans and organization received Pujols warmly, appearing to heal some hurt feelings on all sides.
Pujols is no longer the player St. Louis Cardinals fans watched in awe. He is still Albert Pujols, though. He can still hit. He is still a hitter you would want at the plate in certain situations. He is still a player you would want young members of your club around to ask for pointers and tips. He is a player that coaches and a new manager in Olver Marmol can feel comfortable going to pick his brain. He is the best friend to legendary Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who will be playing in the final year of his career in 2022.
He knows the Cardinal Way.
Pujols is not only an option for designated hitter, or advisor in the clubhouse, he can additionally give Goldschmidt a day off at first base if needed.
Pujols is 21 home runs away from hitting the 700th of his career. Imagine him doing that at Busch Stadium in front of the St. Louis Cardinals faithful.
He’s Albert Pujols. If you can bring him back to help your club in any way, it would be great. With Rob Manfred announcing the designated hitter coming to the National League, it seems to have created a path for the Cardinals to bring him home.