Jupiter, Florida – While Albert Pujols Confirming that this would be the final season of his undisputed Hall of Fame career – and would come, fittingly enough, with the same organization the Cardinals began and where he enjoyed the most success – he also insisted This is not just a festive and nostalgic tour With an awesome Hollywood-type ending.
No, Pujols are back in Red Cardinals trying to be one of the game’s most feared players, and he’s here to help St. general deal. Terms of the deal were not announced, but it is worth $2.5 million, a source told Mark Finsand of MLB.com.
Time will tell if the 42-year-old Pujols can summon the same kind of magic he had during his previous career with the Cardinal from 2001-11 when he produced two Championships, three MVP Awards, 10 years of hitting at least .300 and smashing 30 or more runs the home. That, Pujols said with the steely glow and driven mentality that has become synonymous during his first Tour in St. Louis, is the only thing he’s hoping to get out of this final race jersey that shows birds on bat.
“For me, I think I’m here for a reason,” said Pujols, who earlier in the day got out from behind the right-hand fence at Roger Dean Stadium and walked down the rotten line to join his fellow Cardinals in the dugout at their 2-1 loss to the Astros. “They think I can still play this game and they think I can help this organization win the championship. I believe in that too.”
Pujols – who is arguably one of the greatest players in the Cardinals’ rich history, along with Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith – rejoins the franchise as catcher Yadier Molina enters his 19th and final season, And bowler Adam Wainwright may be about to get out, too. Wainwright, who allowed two runs in four strokes in five runs on Monday, believes Pujols will be on a mission to show he has plenty of hitting in the tank.
“He looks like he’s doing well, and he’s excited,” said Wainwright, who noted that Pujols woke him from his pre-game nap on Monday with a “bear hug.”
“Anytime Albert is motivated, it is very dangerous,” Wainwright said. “He has the drive to show people that he’s not too old or that he’s over the hill. I don’t think he wants this to be nostalgic; he wants to go out and prove something. This chip is good to put on your shoulder. It’s nice to be loved, and that’s a nice thing, and there’s no one around.” Liked more than him. But he wants to prove himself.”
Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. Immediate response from Pujols’ addition – he spotted a fan wearing the number 5 jersey when he stormed into the team’s headquarters on Monday morning. DeWitt Jr. described the signature as “the height of spring.”
The Pujols are entering season 21 shy of 700 games — with a lot of that damage coming from his historic 11-season run with the Cardinals. He’s hit .328 and cheered 445 times with the Redbirds, been an All-Star nine times and won a Gold Glove twice.
Pujols, who left St. Louis in 2011 to sign a 10-year, $240 million free agent contract with the Angels, has been emotional returns for St. Louis in recent years while playing for the Anaheim and Los Angeles Dodgers. And he said the many lasting applauses he received from Cardinals fans — before and after keeping up with current Cardinal Dakota Hudson in 2019 and JA Happ last season — allowed him to dream again of the prospect of returning to St. Louis to crown his career.
“There has always been hope,” Pujols said, “so you never shut the door.” The organization never closed the door in my face, and I never closed the door either. It’s a great opportunity. Everything always happens in God’s time, which is the perfect time now. I’m back here and I’m really excited.”
Wainwright, Pujols’ St. Louis teammate from 2005 to 2011, said running on Busch Field in recent years has put him in a somewhat awkward position. On the one hand, he wanted to be supportive of his fellow Cardinals shooters, but he was also very happy with his close friend.
“We’ve never had any hard feelings,” said Wainwright, who admitted he had pressured management in recent days to re-sign Pujols. “It looked like it was with the fans, a lot of time had passed, and it looked like the water was under the bridge.
“They were happy to see him and when he hit that house, that was the most Albert thing ever. Dakota throws a ball and throws bowling pebbles and Albert lifts one of them. In the dugout, I was trying not to smile. I was like, ‘Oh my God, my teammate just gave up running.’” On his land, but that’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen; This is really smelly for Dakota, but really cool for Albert. I didn’t know what to do. But so was Albert.”
As if he needed any extra motivation, Pujols said knowing this would be his final season would propel him to a finish in style – hopefully the World Championship trophy will lift his head.
“This is for me, this is my last tour,” Pujols said frankly. “These young men, [Molina and Wainwright]She made a huge impact on me, and together we have a great history. Now, we want to add to our history. Hopefully we can do that this year and lift the championship trophy. If we can do that, it will be really special for us.”
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