Albert Pujols will always be remembered primarily for his tremendous run with the Cardinals from 2001-11, a span in which he won three National League MVP Awards and was already considered a lock for the Hall of Fame.
Following a decade spent with the Angels and half a season with the Dodgers in 2021, the 42-year-old Pujols has said that he wants to continue playing as he nears the 700-home run milestone. (He has hit 679 to this point.)
Might he end his magnificent career where it started?
According to a report in The Athletic, the Cardinals have had “increased conversations” with Pujols about bringing him back to St. Louis, and “interest is growing” in making a reunion a reality. The club has not confirmed the report.
Pujols compiled a 1.037 OPS with 445 home runs in his 11 seasons with the Cardinals, helping St. Louis win the World Series in 2006 and ’11. Along the way, there were countless iconic moments, including a two-out, go-ahead three-run homer off the Astros’ Brad Lidge in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2005 NL Championship Series, and a three-homer performance in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series against the Rangers.
Prior to the 2012 season, Pujols signed a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Angels, with whom he hit 222 more home runs over the next decade. The Angels released Pujols in May, during his age-41 season, and he was subsequently signed by the Dodgers. He proved to be a productive hitter for them, posting a .759 OPS with 12 homers in 204 plate appearances.
According to The Athletic report, if Pujols does re-sign with the Cardinals, he would not be an everyday player, with six-time All-Star slugger Paul Goldschmidt manning first base. Instead, Pujols would reportedly serve as a right-handed bat off the bench to complement the left-handed bench bat of Corey Dickerson, whom the Cards signed last week.
Will Pujols return to St. Louis to resume his chase for 700 homers and wind down his legendary career? It's an intriguing possibility.