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Rumor: Albert Pujols return to Cardinals unlikely despite his strong desire


Albert Pujols wants to finish his Hall of Fame career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Unfortunately for The Machine, that dream reunion is unlikely to come to fruition.

Pujols was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angeles on Thursday — two months into the final season of a 10-year contract.

The 41-year old will become a free agent for the second time in his career. In 2011, after a prolific decade with the Cardinals, Pujols signed a $240 million contract with L.A.

He gradually declined over the course of his Angels tenure and spent most of the contract as a plodding DH with painful advanced metrics and solid RBI totals.

Pujols was hitting .198 with a .622 OPS in 2021. The Angels are 13-16 and sit in fifth place in the American League West division.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Pujols did not want to “hang around” Los Angeles as his playing time diminished.

The Angels will have seven days to either trade Pujos or place him on waivers. If he goes unclaimed, he’ll be fully released by the organization.

Angels owner Arte Moreno released a statement on Pujols’ designation.

“Albert’s historical accomplishments, both on and off the field, serve as an inspiration to athletes everywhere, and his actions define what it means to be a true Superstar,” Moreno said. “Since his Rookie of the Year Season in 2001, Albert and his wife Deidre have generously given their time and resources to countless charities throughout the world. We are thankful to the entire Pujols Family.”

Pujols, who is earning $30 million in 2021, reportedly wants to continue his 21-year MLB career, though it’s hard to envision him getting a spot on a National League roster, as he mainly plays DH these days. That probably rules out a reunion in St. Louis, for whom Pujols won two World Series, three MVPs and made 10 All-Star teams.

“If it were up to Pujols, he would finish his career in St. Louis, the city he never should have left,” Nightengale wrote. “Yet, they have a first baseman in Paul Goldschmidt. There’s no DH in the National League this year. And it’s hard to imagine they’d clear a spot for Pujols simply out of nostalgia.

Pujols still has a home in St. Louis too, but there simply doesn’t seem to be any room for him right now on the Cardinals roster.

Pujols averaged a slash line of .331/.426/.624 over his unparalleled run with the redbirds. He has 667 career home runs, putting him within reach of the historically exclusive 700 dinger club.

One speculated destination has been the Chicago White Sox, who are managed by Pujols’ former skipper, Tony La Russa.