Much of the following article is from the Associated Press translated from El Nuevo Dia newspaper
The three-time MVP and eight-time LatinoMVP winner was introduced Monday as a new member of the Dodgers and debuted night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
LOS ANGELES – Albert Pujols is grateful for the opportunity to search for a new World Series ring, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers. At the same time, the Dominican star rejected the Los Angeles Angels’ version of the circumstances that resulted in his departure from his team.
The 41-year-old slugger formally joined the Dodgers on Monday in a one-season deal, pledging to contribute to the defending champions as first baseman, pinch hitter and mentor. He will wear No. 55 after wearing No. 5 with the Cardinals and Angels in his first two decades in the majors.
“I feel like I still have some gas left in my tank,” Pujols said. “I am really excited about this opportunity.”
The Dodgers activated the Pujols who is in fifth place on the all-time home run list before the first game of their home series against Arizona on Monday night.
Pujols said his role with the Dodgers will be, “really whatever. I am here to do anything. Pinch hit, first base, whatever they want. I’m just excited to have the opportunity to wear this uniform. ”
Pujols ‘willingness to accept a supporting role with the Dodgers directly contradicts the Angels’ public accounts of why he was terminated a few weeks ago.
Pujols made no public comment after the Angels placed him on assignment, but said Monday that the abrupt end of his 10-year, $ 240 million contract with the Angels was the team’s sole decision.
“I was surprised, I think, like everyone,” Pujols said. But at the end of the day, I have no hard feelings. I am here, with this organization, and happy to have this opportunity. I am not the only player who is going to go through something like this. ”
Angels president John Carpino and general manager Perry Minasian said the team and player reached a mutual agreement because the slugger wanted to play regularly despite a significant decline in his statistical contribution. The Angels have two players at their position – first baseman Jared Walsh and designated hitter Shohei Ohtan – with far better numbers on offense.
Dressed in his blue Dodgers cap, Pujols directly contradicted the Angels management’s statements.
“I think there are many out there saying, ‘Oh, you wanted to play more, you wanted to play every day,'” he commented. “I never said that”. “My goal in the last two years was never to try to be first baseman every day,” Pujols said. “I told them in spring training that the role they wanted me in was fine. I understand that they made that decision as an organization, it is a business decision and there are no hard feelings. I understand that. So they chatted with me and that was it. I’m moving forward, and I’m happy to have another chance with another organization. ”
Pujols comes to the Dodgers as a backup and situational player, hinting that being part of a title contender after nine mostly mediocre seasons in Anaheim was the biggest factor for the 10-time All-Star and winner of two Series titles. World. He will be the fourth former MVP in the Dodgers dugout, joining Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and Clayton Kershaw.
The Angels will pay virtually all of Pujols’ remaining $ 30 million salary for this season, except for the $ 420,000 for which he signed with the rival city team.
Pujols’ $ 240 million deal includes a 10-year personal services contract with the Angels, which he will initiate once he retires. But Pujols said he will not think about retirement until the end of the campaign, leaving open the possibility of staying active in 2022.
Pujols, who started his career with 11 brilliant seasons at St. Louis, has 667 career home runs and is 13th on the all-time hit list with 3,253. He is the active leader in the majors in home runs, hits, RBIs (2,112), runs scored (1,852) and games played (2,886).
The three-time MVP winner and eight-time LatinoMVP hit .198 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in 24 of the Angels’ first 29 games this season.
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