Albert Pujols will reportedly continue his Major League Baseball career on the West Coast after agreeing to a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Per Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, Pujols will sign a major league deal with the Dodgers for the rest of the 2021 season.
Depth has rarely been a problem for Los Angeles in recent years. The roster is loaded with talent despite being without 2019 MVP Cody Bellinger since April 5 because of a hairline fracture in his fibula.
Bringing in Pujols won't dramatically alter the Dodgers' lineup, but he does give manager Dave Roberts more ways to match up with opponents.
Updated Dodgers Lineup
1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Corey Seager, SS
3. Justin Turner, 3B
4. Max Muncy, 1B
5. Chris Taylor, CF
6. Gavin Lux, 2B
7. AJ Pollock, LF
8. Austin Barnes, C
Bench: Pujols (1B), Sheldon Neuse (IF), Matt Beaty (OF), DJ Peters (OF), Luke Raley (OF), Will Smith (C)
Pujols officially became a free agent Thursday after he was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels on May 6.
It's unclear how Pujols will fit on the Dodgers roster. Their primary first baseman is Max Muncy, who has a .934 OPS through 36 games. Utilityman Matt Beaty has a .304/.429/.413 slash line in 26 appearances this season.
Bellinger, who has been on the injured list since April 6, still doesn't have a clear timetable to return.
“He was moving,” Roberts told reporters about Bellinger prior to the Dodgers game against the Miami Marlins after a video of him working out was posted to social media. “He ran up to 19 mph. It was effortless.”
Despite not having Bellinger, the Dodgers rank third in MLB with 196 runs scored and fourth with a .758 OPS.
Pujols was off to the worst start of his career before being released. The three-time NL MVP has a .198/.250/.372 slash line in 92 plate appearances.
One thing that Pujols can still do is hit homers. He had five of them in just 86 at-bats with the Angels this season.
Given the Dodgers' resources, they can afford to take a flier on a veteran player like Pujols as they pursue a second straight World Series title.