Albert Pujols Signing Would Have Been 'Very Complicated' for Cardinals, Mozeliak Says

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 18, 2021

Los Angeles Dodgers' Albert Pujols bats during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, May 17, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The St. Louis Cardinals could have brought the legendary Albert Pujols back for an encore after he parted ways with the Los Angeles Angels, but he eventually signed with the L.A. Dodgers.

Cardinals president John Mozeliak said such a move would have been complex for the National League Central team.

"Clearly, the story of trying to bring him back would have been an exciting narrative, but the reality on how much playing time, and where he fit in, seemed very complicated at this time," he said, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

There were some connections between Pujols and the Cardinals prior to his signing with the Dodgers.

Katie Woo of The Athletic reported the team held "limited internal conversations" about bringing him back, while Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported there was some interest.

"That's like the million dollar question," Pujols said in March when asked if he will ever return to the Cardinals, per Nightengale. "Everybody asks me that. Hey, I don't know what's going to happen. This is the last year of my contract, and I feel like I can play. I feel good. My body feels great. Mentally, I feel like I can continue to play. But I don't know, we'll see what happens. Who knows?"

Whether the 41-year-old ever rejoins St. Louis, he will forever be one of the best players in franchise history.

His two World Series titles, three MVP awards, six Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves all came with the Cardinals, as did nine of his 10 All-Star selections.

Pujols had a .328/.420/.617 slash line with 445 home runs and 1,329 RBI in 11 seasons with St. Louis, which was much better than his slash line of .256/.311/.447 with 222 home runs and 783 RBI in 10 seasons with the Angels.

Still, Pujols is past his prime and would have struggled to crack the lineup for the Cardinals considering there is no designated hitter in the National League and Paul Goldschmidt is entrenched at first base.