the first baseman Carlos Santana and the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a one-year, $6.7 million deal, pending the results of a physical, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN.
Santana, 36, finished with a league-average OPS last season, hitting .202/.316/.376 while playing for the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners. But his expected numbers, based on how hard he hit the ball (81st percentile exit velocity) and his elite walk rate (97th percentile), projected much better results, something that prompted the market for him
Plus, no one had a higher percentage in defensive special formations last season than Santana, who saw upset defense in 356 of his 362 appearances as a left-handed hitter. With special formations banned in 2023, the switch-hitting Santana could see a significant benefit.
After a midseason trade to the Mariners, Santana quickly emerges as a leader, something the Pirates — whose oldest position player on the 40-man roster is Ji Man Choi31, purchased earlier this winter—desperately in need.
Santana is entering his 14th season and has a career line of .242/.359/.432 with 278 home runs and 925 RBIs. He will meet with Pirates manager Derek Shelton, who was the Cleveland Guardians’ major league hitting coach when Santana joined the organization following a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008.
Although a strong defensive first baseman, Santana is best known for his discipline and power at the plate. He has walked rates of over 13% in every major league season and has hit at least 18 home runs in each of his 11 full years in the majors.
The Pirates, whose roster was in the bottom five in baseball this year for the fifth straight season, are expected to add more via free agency or trades this winter, a young core led by center fielder Bryan Reynoldsthe shortstop oneil cruz and the third the base Ke’Bryan Hayes. the opener Mitch Keller and the closer david bednar and anticipate the arrival of catcher Henry Davis, second baseman Nick Gonzales and right-handed pitcher Quinn Priester.
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Sources: Pirates and Carlos Santana agree to one year