Storybook ending aside, Cardinals reunion with Albert Pujols never made baseball sense

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Even if it would have made for a great story, reuniting with Albert Pujols never really made sense for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Albert Pujols won’t be coming back to St. Louis to finish out his Hall of Fame career.

While that’s a bit of a bummer from the storytelling point of view, it’s ultimately for the best.

Pujols returning to the St. Louis Cardinals always seemed like a long shot, despite reports that he had reached out and would be willing to take a limited role to come back.

The fact of the matter is, it never made sense for St. Louis.

The Cardinals don’t need Albert Pujols in 2021

Paul Goldschmidt is an everyday first baseman whose time with the Cardinals has been strong. He’s certainly hitting more reliably than Pujols at this stage in his career with six home runs while batting .248/.304/.409 this season.

By comparison, Pujols hasn’t managed averages better than those since 2016. In 2020, the 41-year-old was batting .198/.250/.372.

St. Louis couldn’t deploy him regularly as a designated hitter since they’re in the National League. Short of putting him in as a pinch hitter, there just wouldn’t be much use for Pujols.

Granted, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in a similar position with Max Muncy established at first base and no DH in the NL. Still, Los Angeles is in a bit of a rut and has reason to try something different to jump-start their campaign.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, are playing very well in 2021. They top the NL Central and are just a half-game out of first place in the NL. At this point, the best plan is to stay the course. There’s no need to fix what isn’t broken.

Pujols was a legend for St. Louis, but they don’t owe him anything either.

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