First baseman Carlos Santana and the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed a one-year, $6.7 million deal pending the results of a physical exam, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN.
Santana, 36, finished last year with a league OPS average, hitting .202/.316/.376 between stints at the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals. But his expected numbers, based on how hard he hit the ball (an 81st percentile exit speed) and his elite walk rate (97th percentile), projected far better results, which drives his market.
Also, no one made a bigger move over the past year than Santana, who saw a changed defense on 356 of his 362 left-handed batting appearances. With the shift banned in 2023, Switch-battling Santana could see a significant advantage.
After a mid-season move to the Mariners, Santana quickly emerged as a leader, something the Pirates — whose oldest positional player in the 40-man roster is 31-year-old Ji-Man Choi, who they traded for earlier this winter — Urgently needed.
Entering his 14th season, Santana has a career .242/.359/.432 streak with 278 home runs and 925 RBIs. He will return to Pirates manager Derek Shelton, who was the big league coach for Cleveland when Santana joined the organization after a transfer from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008.
Still a strong defensive first baseman, Santana is best known for his plate discipline and power. He has walked rates in excess of 13% in every big league season and has hit at least 18 home runs in each of his 11 full years in the major leagues.
The Pirates, whose payroll ranked in baseball’s bottom five for the fifth straight year this year, are expected to add a young core this winter via free agency or trades, led by center fielder Bryan Reynolds, shortstop Oneil Cruz and third baseman Ke ‘Bryan Hayes. Starters Mitch Keller and closer David Bednar await the arrival of catcher Henry Davis, second baseman Nick Gonzales and right-hander Quinn Priester.
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/35108839/pittsburgh-pirates-1b-carlos-santana-agree-1-year-67m-deal Pittsburgh Pirates, 1B Carlos Santana agree on 1-year, $6.7M deal