St. Louis Cardinals: Revisiting 3 preseason predictions gone bad
Prediction: Signing Albert Pujols was a mistake
This appears, at least so far, to be a big one.
When the Cardinals signed Albert Pujols to a one-year, $2.5 million contract, I thought it was a mistake. Actually, a huge mistake.
After all, in his last several years with the Los Angeles Angels, his production had crashed. Since 2017, his OPS+ has been less than 100 and hasn’t been close to a 100 RBIs. Additionally, his RAA and WAA had fallen into the negative territory, and his WAR, during the last few years was barely staying above zero.
When the Angels DFA’d Pujols on May 6, 2021, he was hitting a slash line of .198/.250/.372. It appeared Albert was at the end of his career.
Nevertheless, the Dodgers did pick up Pujols ten days later, and used him primarily against left handed pitching. Here, he was effective during 2021, hitting a slash line of .294/.336/.603, with an OPS+ of 158.
Still, overall, Pujols’ 2021 was the worst of his long and exceptional career. It would seem to be time for him to hang up his cleats.
He didn’t, and signed with the Cardinals. Consequently, I thought the Cardinals had made a big mistake. The Cardinals needed offensive help, especially at the DH spot. I just didn’t see Pujols helping, and thought he would be drag on the roster.
Initially, my fears seemed justified. In May, Albert hit a slashline of .188/.328/.333, followed by an even worse June with a slashline of .158/.214/.21. Although his clubhouse presence was being praised, his bat didn’t seem to be helping the Cardinals.
However, although still primarily a pinch-hitter or DH, Pujols has been on tear since the start of July. In July, he hit a BA of .320 with an OPS of .944, while in August he has a BA of .368 and an OPS of 1.323.
Despite the fact that most of his production has been against LHP, he has shown success recently against some RHP. On July 10th, against a series of Phillies right-handers, Pujols had three hits with a home run.
While the season is still not over, my bold prediction of signing Albert Pujols would be a disaster for the Cardinals, I’m happy to say, appears to be wrong.