As Pujols prepares for what would be his 22nd Major League season, the slugger showed last year that he still has something to offer a roster. After being released by the Angels in May and then signed by the Dodgers, Pujols finished the 2021 campaign with a scorching .294/.336/.603 slash line against left-handed pitching (in 146 plate appearances). The Dodgers largely limited Pujols to platoon and pinch-hitting duties, and he responded with some of his most productive numbers in some time.
Feinsand notes that Pujols’ market has been expanded by the official installation of the universal DH, as now National League teams have a greater need for extra hitting pop. The flexibility of the designated hitter slot allows for less concern from NL teams about how Pujols would physically manage getting regular playing time as a first baseman.
Beyond the on-field help Pujols can still provide, teams could also be intrigued by his reputation as a clubhouse leader, and any potential ticket sales that could be drummed up by Pujols’ march up the all-time leaderboards. Pujols’ 679 career home runs puts him 17 homers behind Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the all-time list, and over a full 162-game season, it certainly seems possible that Pujols can become the fourth player to ever reach the 700-homer plateau (Pujols had 17 home runs over 296 PA with the Angels and Dodgers last year). Pujols also needs 68 RBI to pass Babe Ruth for second place on the all-time RBI list.