Albert Pujols He is Back with the CardinalsAnd he will finish his career from where it began. Talk to reporters (including Derek Gold from the St. Louis Post-DispatchAt a press conference announcing his return to St. Louis, Pujols confirmed that he intends to retire after next season. “this is mine. This is my last runHe said to the group.
Pujols heads into the 22nd season of his Hall of Fame career. He spent a little more than half of that in Cardinal Red, storming the major championships with the 2001 Rookie of the Year winning campaign. The struggling first baseman finished fourth in the NL MVP by voting for his first season, and remains among the top five finishers in that poll For all but one season in St. Louis (the 2007 campaign in which he finished ninth).
During this race, Pujols was named MVP on three separate occasions. He led the MLB in OPS+ in four of the five seasons between 2006-10, and earned a Silver Slugger award in each of the last three years. The Pujols went to the Midsummer Classic in nine of his first 11 seasons with the cards and helped the club to a pair of world championships. During his time in St. Louis, he posted a staggering 328/.420/.617 slashes, averaging over 40 home runs per season.
Of course, the second half of Pujols’ career wasn’t anywhere near the otherworldly heights he had reached during that time. The Pujols posted above-average offensive numbers for each of his first five seasons at Orange County after signing a ten-year deal with the Angels during the 2011-12 season. He only set stellar numbers during his first season with Halos (.285/.343/.516 with 30 Homers) as his hitting average and base numbers dropped sharply, although twice more Pujols lost 30 long balls at Anaheim.
With his production still falling at the end of that deal, he released The Angels Pujols this past May. He landed with the Dodgers and worked as a platoon/bench bat before hitting the open market again this winter. In a perfect moment, the 42-year-old agreed to return to St. Louis for one final round last night.
Pujols has already made a laundry list of professional achievements. His name refers to the all-time leaderboards in most major categories. He is in 12th place with 3,301 hits, with only 18 left to take his place Paul Molitor in the top ten. Barring the injury, he’s sure to get there this year. It would be difficult—but not impossible—for the Pujols to put another pair of accomplishments into running the house. Already fifth all-time with 679 big flies, he needs 18 more to pass Alex Rodriguez For fourth place and 21 people to reach a plateau of 700 marks. Pujols is 64 RBI from Babe Ruth For second place in that category, and has a chance to jump both Willie Miss (38 away) and Stan Musical (92 away) in the overall bases leaderboard.
It is clear that Pujols will not bear the workload he did early in his career. Paul Goldschmidt He is the first base officer regular with the cards, leaving the designated hitter role as the cleanest path to bat for the Pujols. In recent seasons, he hasn’t had enough success that the now winning St. Louis will commit to playing every day in that capacity, but he’s trying to pick up some tough work and start against the left pitch. Cardinal fans will get a chance to watch Pujols chase those various landmarks over the last six months, and he’ll come out alongside two other players most closely associated with the past two decades of Cardinal baseball.
Molina runs she has already announced He plans to retire after this same year. Adam Wainwright, who will complete 41 in August, is back for the 17th season with a one-year deal on the off-season account. There has been a lot of speculation over the past few seasons that Wainwright might be stepping down soon, although he has yet to commit one way or the other. The three-time All-Star player once again contested his future this afternoon, telling reporters that “Do not cross this bridge” at the moment (via John Denton from MLB.com).
Wainwright is to his credit that he remained very productive into his 30s, and showed lower declines in performance than any of his legendary colleagues. The three players were all prominent members of the organization, and they were officially reunited one last time. It remains to be seen if Wainwright will join Molina and Pujols as outright stars, but the trio will be together this year in hopes of bringing a third world championship to St. Louis.
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