After a decade away, Albert Pujols is returning to the team in which he laid the foundation of his Hall-of-Fame career, signing with the St. Louis Cardinals on a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, per multiple reports.
The 42-year-old will likely serve as a part-time designated hitter against left-handed pitchers and a late-game pinch-hitting option.
Pujols was a nine-time All-Star and three-time National League MVP during his first stint with the Cardinals from 2001-2011. A two-time World Series winner, he slashed .328/.421/.617 (1.037 OPS) with 445 home runs — an impressive enough resume that would have likely attained Hall-of-Fame enshrinement then.
Ahead of the 2012 season, he signed a massive 10-year, $240 million with the Los Angeles Angels in hopes of replicating the same kind of success out west.
It didn’t happen.
From 2012-2020, his production plummeted to a slash line of .257/.312/.448 with 217 home runs while the Angels made the postseason just once. Midway through the 2021 season, he was dealt across town to the Dodgers for their stretch run where he batted .312 in the postseason.
One last season with the Cardinals provides an opportunity for Pujols and the team to put together an ultimate farewell tour. As he enters his 22nd professional season, Pujols ranks fourth in MLB history with 679 home runs, third with 2,150 RBI, and 12th with 3,301 hits.