Although it has been nearly a decade since Albert Pujols played for the St. Louis Cardinals, that is still the first franchise that comes to mind when thinking back on his career. The Cardinals were where he found his greatest success, the place where his Hall of Fame career began to take off. The Cardinals are also where Pujols would like to finish his career, taking in the cheers on his former home one last time.
Pujols is not the only person that would like to see that happen. Tony La Russa, Pujols’ former manager in St. Louis, said that he would like to see the future Hall of Famer not only return for one more season, but to do so as a Cardinal.
Tony La Russa wants to see Albert Pujols back with St. Louis Cardinals
Pujols had openly talked about wanting such a reunion when he was released by the Angels. At the time, such a return was improbable; the Cardinals did not have a spot for him on the roster, and Pujols simply did not appear to be a viable major leaguer any longer. He had produced a miserable .198/.250/.372 batting line in his 92 plate appearances, with his five homers being the only sign of success.
But Pujols has started to look like a different player during his time with the Dodgers. He may not be the star that he was, but his power has returned as he has produced a solid .261/.303/.479 batting line with 11 homers in 165 plate appearances. That production could certainly play.
It is possible that production could lead to one more opportunity. The designated hitter is coming to the National League at some point, potentially as early as next year. If that happens, Pujols could find himself with more offers than one would have expected for a 41 year old with foot problems.
In the end, it will come down to two factors. First, Pujols’ body will need to be able to handle another season, and he would need to want to return. Second, the Cardinals would need to have a place for him. If the DH is included in the NL, both could happen.
Tony La Russa wants to see Albert Pujols return to the St. Louis Cardinals. If he does come back in 2022, it would be the right spot to end his career.