St. Louis Cardinals: Was Albert Pujols the best offseason signing?
Was St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols the best offseason signing? He’s at least in the conversation as the best bargain signing.
Albert Pujols is two home runs away from 700 in his career. He has helped guide the St. Louis Cardinals to a comfortable lead in the National League Central, who now look like a dark horse to represent the NL in the National League.
Pujols, 42, was signed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal to end his career in St. Louis. In 96 games, he’s hitting .260/.337/.520 with 19 home runs and 53 RBI. And yes, while there have been other free agents who have had better seasons than Pujols, the question must be asked: has Pujols been the best bargain signing from the last offseason?
It’s hard to argue otherwise. It’s also worth wondering just where the Cardinals would be without Pujols. His performance at first base and against left-handers has far exceeded expectations. His presence in the clubhouse has been evident, as he’s stepped into a prominent leadership role, and also been a sounding board for superstars Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt as well as young players such as Dylan Carlson.
Going into the postseason, Pujols’ presence will be even more important. Besides Goldschmidt, Arenado and Yadier Molina, the Cardinals have a relatively young roster. His postseason experience and leadership will be even more magnified. His presence will also help keep the clubhouse loose. And against left-handers, where Pujols is hitting .356/.408/.760 with 12 home runs and 28 RBI this season, he should once again provide a favorable matchup for the Cardinals.
It’s a huge asset for the Cardinals, one they did not have last season when they lost in the wild card round against the Los Angeles Dodgers. With him, St. Louis is capable of competing with anyone in baseball, and has made them a legitimate World Series contender.
Which makes him arguably the best bargain signing from last offseason.