The Dodgers are expected to sign the future first ballot hall of fame, Albert Pujols on Monday morning, making Pujols the fourth former league MVP to be on the Dodgers roster.
While the signing was exciting, the Dodgers were hit with another devastating injury when Corey Seager was drilled in the hand leading to a fracture that will sideline the Dodgers 2020 NLCS and World Series MVP. This is now the third starter that will be absent from the Dodgers lineup, Seager will join starting left fielder and center fielder AJ Pollock and Cody Bellinger.
The good news with the roster is that some of the bats that are healthy are coming alive, Max Muncy is ripping the cover off of the ball and this makes it easy for Dave Roberts to move Muncy to second base and give Pujols some starts at first base, the idea is that Pujols will be used primarily as a DH but will see the occasional start at first base. The starting lineup seems like a more realistic possibility with the Dodgers having more injuries pile up and Pujols is a veteran, hall of fame, scary name to see in the lineup and that’s more I can say for some of the other Dodgers who have been filling in for the injured starters.
The Dodgers starting pitching continues to be outstanding. Trevor Bauer tossed seven scoreless innings on Saturday night, notching ten strikeouts and dropping his 2021 season ERA to 2.20 – not too shabby.
The Dodgers currently sit one game behind the division leading San Francisco Giants and a half game behind the San Diego Padres. It is mid-May so it is probably way too early to be scoreboard watching but if the Dodgers are able to weather this injury storm and somehow be a handful of games out of first or dare I say it, in first place when Pollock and Bellinger return, that would be a tremendous success and with the return of Bellinger and Pollock, that would give us a fighting chance to still perform at a high level while waiting for Seager’s return.
The emphasis certainly turns to Justin Turner, Mookie Betts and Max Muncy to carry this offense until the others return but I think Pujols could be a major asset even at his age. He had six home runs on the season before the Angels released him and although he was hitting .197 if the Dodgers could get 20+ home runs and a .230 average from Pujols, I think that would be more than fine and if that’s the case, I say move Muncy to second base and let Pujols play first, he did start 20 of 22 games at first base for the Angels this season. Having Pujols in the back end of the lineup as a home run and RBI threat late in the game is much better than watching Neuse, Peters or Lux, let the veteran have a chance.
If I was Dave Roberts, here would be my primary lineup until Bellinger, Pollock and Seager return:
1 . Betts – RF
2 . Taylor – CF
3 . Turner – 3B
4 . Muncy – 2B
5 . Smith – C
6 . Pujols – 1B
7 . Lux – SS
8 . Beaty – LF
9 . Pitcher Spot
Pujols is probably the best offensive player of my generation or one of the best at the very least. A guy like Pujols wants to make an impact and help a team get back to the post-season, something he hasn’t been a part of since leaving the Cardinals. A hall of fame player who was kicked to the curb by a struggling team who is somehow trying to lay the blame at his doorstep is a recipe for redemption and for Pujols to prove he’s still got something left in the tank. I like the sound of that and I think the Dodgers who are paying 500k of a 25 million dollar deal could be thanking the Angels for paying that contract while Pujols plays a major role in the Dodgers playoff push over the course of the next four months.