Legendary former Cardinal hired to manage in Dominican Winter League

St. Louis Cardinals great Albert Pujols has been anointed as the next manager for the Escogido Baseball Club in the Dominican Winter League.
Wild Card Series - Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Two / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Yadier Molina isn't the only former St. Louis Cardinals great who is looking at a future managing role. According to Grandes en los Deportes, Cardinals titan Albert Pujols has been hired as the manager for the Dominican Winter League's Escogido Baseball Club.

The slugger retired after a one-year reunion with the Cardinals, where he hit his milestone 700th home run. In 2023, he was an analyst for MLB Network and made his broadcasting debut on June 4 when the Cardinals opposed the Pittsburgh Pirates in a Peacock-exclusive game. Pujols said after his retirement that he was open to the idea of coaching for a team, but he didn't give a time table as to when he would take a position. Apparently, that time is now.

This job will be Pujols' first foray into managing a professional team, but with each team in the Dominican Winter League playing only 50 games, spanning from late October to late December, Pujols will have plenty of time to engage in his other baseball-related activities, including working as a special assistant for the Los Angeles Angels after making a commitment in his contract to spend 10 years after his retirement to work with the team.

Pujols' leadership and extensive knowledge of the sport will be incredibly valuable to his players in the Dominican Republic just as it was to many Cardinals in his final year. In 2022, many players, especially former Cardinals outfielder and designated hitter Juan Yepez, gravitated to Pujols to soak in his wisdom and expertise.

With Molina also securing a managing role in some capacity in either Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic and not being available for much of Spring Training in 2024, there could be worry that the Cardinals will suffer somewhat of a "brain drain" regarding baseball expertise. However, the team should be able to mitigate that issue after bringing back veterans such as Daniel Descalso in a coaching role and Lance Lynn and Matt Carpenter as players.

It's worth checking out the Dominican Winter League as the 2024 major league postseason wraps up to see how one of the Cardinals' all-time greats fares in his first managerial role. If it's anything resembling how he tutored the younger players on the finer points of the game in 2022, Pujols' time with the Escogido Baseball Club should be hugely successful.