By signing Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals punt on 2022 season

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 06: Albert Pujols #55 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dugout against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on July 06, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 06: Albert Pujols #55 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dugout against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on July 06, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals have put winning on the back burner after signing Albert Pujols.

The St. Louis Cardinals have thrown all pretenses about winning out the window with the signing of Albert Pujols to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

Pujols, 42, has not had a bWAR over 1 since 2016. A player who was once feared in all facets of the game can now only be realistically deployed as a weak-side platoon bat, where he will be taking much-needed at-bats away from Juan Yepez, stalling Yepez’s development. His one positive trait remaining, his power, will almost certainly be mitigated in pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium.

But we all know Pujols’ limitations by now (or at least we should), so I’m not going to harp on that any further. This is a classic example of the front office trying to mask its offseason shoddiness by signing a former Cardinals legend. Corey Dickerson and Steven Matz were hardly the marquee signings that fans had hoped for, so the Cardinals are trying to appeal to emotion to make things right, hoping fans will lap up the nostalgia points.

Remember that magical series against the Los Angeles Angels when Pujols returned to Busch Stadium? That was awesome. It was the best game I’d watched since Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. But that’s all the nostalgia I wanted. How soon until the fuzzy feeling of having Pujols back wears off and fans realize what they’re stuck with this year?

Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina are likely retiring after this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Pujols makes this year his swan song as well. While it may appear romantic to see these three greats ride off into the sunset together, I’m more interested in winning baseball games. But money comes above all in this sport, and the Cardinals are fully aware that they will make a killing in ticket and merchandise sales this year.

The Cardinals have apparently transcended fancy buzzwords like “winning” and “player development.” The real wave of the future is signing one-dimensional players and watching the cash roll in. Pujols’ signing is a way for the Cardinals to cover up the fact that they barely addressed the actual holes in their roster by throwing the fans a bone, and I’m not going to gnaw on it like a jubilant puppy.

Next. Cardinals News: St. Louis in agreement with Albert Pujols. dark

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