The idea of Albert Pujols playing one final season in a Cardinals uniform always seemed a bit fanciful, considering that Paul Goldschmidt now occupies first base in St. Louis, and that Pujols’ dropoff in production created doubt that he would even play beyond the 2021 season. However, Pujols has had a bit of a revival as a specialist against left-handed pitching, crushing southpaws to the tune of a .302/.336/.635 slash line and 13 home runs over 134 plate appearances this season.
As Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, signing Pujols in 2022 has some baseball value to a Cardinals team that may have a DH spot to work with in next year’s lineup. That is on top of the natural symbolism of bringing Pujols back for what would be his 22nd — and quite possibly final — MLB season in what Yadier Molina has already announced will be his own final season. If Adam Wainwright also re-signs with the team and decides to hang it up next winter (which is no sure thing given how well Wainwright continues to pitch), the 2022 season will carry a storybook feel for an entire era of Cardinals baseball, as well as a renewed charge towards another title.
More from around baseball…
- The Orioles placed Matt Harvey on the 10-day injured list due to inflammation in his right knee. O’s manager Brandon Hyde told reporters (including BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Rich Dubroff) that Harvey will undergo testing on the knee, and it isn’t yet known if the veteran right-hander will be able to pitch again this season. After signing a minor league deal with the Orioles in the offseason, Harvey ended up spending the entire year on Baltimore’s big league roster, and the oft-injured righty has tossed 127 2/3 innings over 28 starts. That is the silver lining amidst an otherwise tough season results-wise, as Harvey has a 6.27 ERA/4.84 SIERA and one of the lower (16.7%) strikeout rates in the league, not to mention some poor hard-hit ball numbers.
- Dylan Bundy is “very confident” that he’ll be able to return to the Angels before the season is through, the right-hander told The Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher and other reporters. Wednesday saw Bundy throw his first bullpen session since being placed on the 10-day IL with a shoulder strain back on August 25, and Bundy said the plan is for another bullpen on Saturday. It remains to be seen if Bundy will be able to build up enough strength to make it back, or if he has already thrown his last pitch as an Angel, considering Bundy is a free agent this winter. “As far as free agency, the only thing I’m thinking about is not being on the IL at the end of the year,” Bundy said. Bundy has struggled to a 6.06 ERA/4.55 SIERA over 90 2/3 innings,
- “I don’t have a lot of conversations with them on that front,” Brian Anderson told MLB.com’s Christina De Nicola and other reporters about extension talks with the Marlins. General manager Kim Ng said last December, soon after her hiring, that she wanted a season to personally evaluate Anderson before deciding on a potential extension. By that standard, Anderson hasn’t done much to impress, hitting only .249/.337/.378 and being limited to 264 plate appearances in an injury-riddled year. Anderson is currently considering multiple options in regards to an ongoing shoulder problem, and surgery is a possibility, with Anderson prioritizing playing as close to a full season as possible in 2022. The Marlins control Anderson’s rights through the 2023 season, so an extension could still be in the cards if he is able to recover and get back to his old form next year.