Albert Pujols Named National League’s ‘Comeback Player of the Year’

Albert Pujols is this year’s Comeback King…

The 42-year-old Dominican slugger for the St. Louis Cardinals has won the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year award.

Albert PujolsPujols came back to St. Louis for his farewell season and posted his biggest numbers in years at the age of 42. The three-time MLB MVP compiled an .895 OPS for the NL Central champions and became the fourth Major League Baseball player to reach 700 career home runs.

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander was the American League recipient.

The winners were chosen in voting by the 30 team beat reporters at MLB.com.

Pujols batted .270 with 24 homers and 68 RBIs in 109 games for the Cardinals after getting released by the Los Angeles Angels in May 2021 and finishing last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

His OPS was his highest since his last season with the Cardinals in 2011 (.906) before joining the Angels, and his home runs were his most since hitting 31 in 2016 for the Angels.

The 11-time MLB All-Star hit 18 home runs in the second half and retired after the Cardinals were eliminated from the playoffs by Philadelphia in the wild-card round.

He finished his career fourth in major league annals in home runs (703), second in RBIs (2,218) and total bases (6,211) and ninth in hits (3,384).

Nicholas Castellanos Traded to the Chicago Cubs

Nicholas Castellanos is headed to the Windy City…

The Chicago Cubs have acquired the 27-year-old Latino professional baseball player and outfielder from the Detroit Tigers, a move they hope fortifies their lineup amid a playoff push.

Nicholas Castellanos

The Tigers received right-handed pitching prospects Alex Langeand Paul Richanin the deal. The Cubs also will receive cash considerations.

“The guy is a good hitter,” Cubs manager Joe Maddonsaid of Castellanos. “I always thought he patterned himself after [Miguel]Cabrera, early on. Saw a lot of balls go into the gap.”

Castellanos is hitting .273 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs this season. His best season came in 2017, when he hit 26 home runs and drove in 101 runs with a .272 average.

He was a late scratch Wednesday afternoon, informed of the trade just before the Tigers played the Angels.

“I’m very excited to be able to go to Chicago and help this team in a pennant race any way that I can,” Castellanos told reporters in Detroit.

He should provide a big boost offensively to a Chicago team that entered Wednesday’s action a game behind the first-place Cardinals in the NL Central and tied atop the wild-card standings. His 119 doubles the past three seasons trail only Red Sox star Mookie Betts‘ total in that span. Castellanos has 37 doubles this season, which puts him tied with Boston‘s Rafael Devers for the most in the majors.

“When you watched us play over the last few months, it felt, at times, we were a bat short in the lineup,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said in a conference call. “He kills lefties. That’s something we’ve really struggled with. We think he’s going to give a pro at-bat versus righties and lefties.”

The Cubs are 9-13 when a left-hander starts against them and have the third-worst batting average against lefties this season, at .235. Castellanos has mashed lefties throughout his career, especially this season, in which he is hitting .347 against them.

Maddon isn’t sure where he’ll hit Castellanos in the order, but his .357 on-base percentage while batting second this year is very enticing. He’ll be in uniform on Thursday when the Cubs complete a series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The move was completed just ahead of Wednesday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline.