The St. Louis Cardinals brought back Albert Pujols this season but, rather than just a farewell team, the club is overusing The Machine.
Bringing back Albert Pujols for a pseudo-retirement tour was always the right move for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2022 season. Having said that, manager Oli Marmol has been handling The Machine a bit differently than most fans would’ve expected coming into the year.
Through 73 games this season, Pujols has appeared in 39 of them for St. Louis, a number that includes 30 starts. And as the team is still attempting to run well out in front of the NL Central race midway through the campaign, it’s hard to ignore that Pujols’ starts have resulted in a 14-16 record for the Redbirds.
It’s safe to say at this point that the Cardinals and Marmol are using Pujols too often given the state of the roster right now and, more importantly, how the veteran and future Hall of Famer is performing on the year.
Cardinals overusing Albert Pujols is impossible to ignore
Overall, the numbers for the 42-year-old Pujols have not been much to write home about. He’s slashing just .196/.296/.339 for the year and has only come up with four home runs and 17 RBI on the year as well.
That’s not the line of a player who should be seeing the lineup as much as Pujols has so far this season. But if that weren’t enough evidence that Marmol is putting him out there more often than he should, Pujols is seemingly showing some signs of fatigue lately as he hasn’t been on base since June 14 in Game 1 of a doubleheader, going 0-for-11 over that span with five strikeouts in 12 plate appearances.
Now, it’s certainly worth noting that a big reason why Pujols has seen the field or grabbed a bat as often as he has to this point is the simple fact that the Cardinals have been riddled with injuries throughout the year already. Even then, though, St. Louis has too much talent to justify Pujols essentially playing in half of their games.
The somewhat ceremonial nature of Pujols’ presence on the Cards’ roster this season makes it almost certain that he’s on the MLB roster for the rest of the year. However, for a team with big-time aspirations in 2022 and as the team gets healthier on the whole, it’s in the best interest of the team and player for Marmol to dial back the workload for Pujols.