The Pirates Make the Carlos Santana Signing Official

The Pittsburgh Pirates officially announced the signing of first baseman Carlos Santana to a one-year contract on Tuesday afternoon. This news was broke three days ago by multiple sources, but the deal was still pending physical at the time. The Pirates still need to make a 40-man roster move, which they noted in the press release will be made later today.

From today’s press release:

Carlos is a pro who is always ready to play and will add consistent at-bats from both sides of the plate and quality defense,” said Pirates General Manager Ben Cherington. “We look forward to welcoming Carlos to our team and clubhouse.”

Santana, who will turn 37 years old shortly after Opening Day, has spent 13 seasons in the majors, mostly with the Cleveland Indians. He started as a catcher. but he hasn’t caught since the 2014 season. He split 2022 between first base and DH. He is a career .242/.359/.432 hitter in 1,784 games, with 32.1 WAR to his credit.

Santana had a .911 OPS in 158 games in 2019, when he had a career best 4.5 WAR. He has not approached that number since then, putting up a .699 OPS in 60 games during the shortened 2020 season. He had a .660 OPS in 158 games with the Kansas City Royals in 2021, and he split the 2022 season between the Royals and Seattle Mariners, posting a .202/.316/.376 slash line in 131 games. He has 2.1 WAR total over the last three season, and he has -0.9 dWAR during that time, though some defensive metrics rate him well.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

All that wait, for it to be a Lewin Diaz DFA


Guess he was just santana insurance afteralll?


Just saw that Santana’s BABIP the last 3 years has been ~.215, which combined with all those red circles on fangraphs makes me feel optimistic that he could be a really nice rebound candidate for us

Wilbur Miller

His BABIP has always run low, although not that low. He has something like 16 percentile speed and he hits popups at about 30-40% above ML avg.


Fair point though .215 still feels low, even a .250-.260 babip is still quite low and probably makes him a 15% above average hitter


Honestly at this point the lack of 40 man move just almost feels like they’re cheating lol. This is so unusual

Wilbur Miller

Instead of dfa they put somebody on double secret probation.

b mcferren

Its time to trade Reynolds to Miami for Eury

b mcferren

Bae, Swaggerty, Canaan, Jack, Mitchell and Andujar are fine for me in the outfield


If we trade Reynolds I’d have to think that at least one, if not two, starting outfielders would be brought in.


No way does Miami trade Perez for Reynolds

b mcferren

who do you think the best prospect we fetch for Reynolds? Mayer? Leiter?


I don’t believe we will get a #1 prospect from any team right now. Possible a couple of the top 5 but not a #1 .


40-man whack candidates (in the order I’d do it):
RP Yohan Ramirez
SP Max Kranick
OF Ryan Vilade
RP Nick Mears
OF Travis Swaggerty (I wouldn’t, but this regime doesn’t seem to like him)


I’m probably in the minority here, but I still remain hopeful that we’ll get something useful out of Swaggerty.

Wilbur Miller

I think they could, but they’ve so clearly lost interest.

Wilbur Miller

Do we have to pick just one?


In due time… due time….l, 😁

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

All this time going by, I’m waiting for the three prospects for a starter trade to break

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

It’ll probably be Marcano, Mitchell, and Mlodzinski for a SP. With Marcano as the headliner. Obviously.


While i have hope cal can still be brantley lite, this would be a brilliant use of our resources imo


Those 3 to the Yanks and Cole will be coming back. He will waive his no trade clause and drive like the wind back to the Burgh. Nutting will say that he has no problem paying Cole’s contract since it is cost certain.


……. I………💤💤💤💭💭💭💭…….woke up…..

Wilbur Miller

Pirates really missed a chance with Joely Rodriguez. Bos got him for $1.5M plus 2.25 in incentives. His ERAs have been mediocre the last two years, but the analytics like him. The BABIP gods smote him in 2021 and in 2022 he got killed by other relievers letting his runners score. A lefty setup guy would have been a nice fit.


Well we did have him but needed Bastardo more 🤣🤣🤣🤣


Hope that means that there’ll be similar deals on similar dudes



I just noticed the part on the your bio about being a LHP with a 80mph heater. Do you live in the pittsburgh area & play still? Or have interest in playing still?


What is dWAR?


It’s either defensive-WAR or the metal band that dresses up in barbarian costumes. I get them confused.


dfa Yajure, it can’t be that difficult right

Wilbur Miller

One thing I’ll give Santana — He sounds a heckuva lot more enthused than Jarrod Dyson did.


Ain’t too much out there right now. You would love to explore but at the same time, you have to take what you can, take the good with the bad and roll with it. Make the most of it.


lol Dyson seemed like he took a plea deal to be in prison less years.

Where do you see what Santana had to say?

Wilbur Miller

One thing that shows up again and again . . . All these veteran players are super curious about Cruz.

Wilbur Miller

Mackey tweets

Last edited 2 months ago by Wilbur Miller

six point seven million reasons to be more enthused 🙂

mostly kidding. some good quotes going out there. Its nice to hear him say how aggressive they were. Hopefully means they “see” something and really wanted him, as opposed to them just kinda taking whatever 1b/DH fell to them.

Scam likely

Kranick could be the guy, and should clear waivers


Kranick may be a bullpen option. He saw a pretty nice velo bump out of the pen last year.


I would like to see it be Vilade, and who cares if he clears waivers.


So many hard choices!


one of my top guesses. either that or it’ll be someone better that theyre trying to line up a trade for.

Last edited 2 months ago by jaygray007

its kinda weird for the corresponding move to be delayed like this right?


My guess is it has to be Lewin Diaz or Ryan Vilade, both recent waiver claims. I would think Vilade has the advantage of staying because he has options remaining whereas Diaz does not


i dont think they grab those guys if they would be on the chopping block a week later. i bet they want to work with both of them.

i think they like Vilade and I think Lewin will be one of the final cuts from camp.

my guess is DFA a pitcher, or an unforeseen trade.

Last edited 2 months ago by jaygray007
Tim Williams

It’s also possible they only grabbed Diaz as insurance if Santana didn’t sign. I’d like to see them keep him.


yeah maybe.

if this was the JayGray OOTP pirates universe, i’d probably keep him around till at least the end of spring. Keep him as spring injury insurance for choi/santana just since the 1b depth is lacking and it’ll be nice to not need to promote Nunez at that point.

Now that they made the call to attempt to not add Nunez to the 40, i see them trying to have layers in place to prevent needing to promote him any time soon. Honestly i could see *another* 1b/DH option being added in addition.

overall it’d be cool if a teambuild with Diaz on the bench most days was possible. Keep him and work with him. Just not sure it’s possible with a 4 man bench.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

It may not be the best roster management, but I could see the possibility of Choi just being essentially full-time DH, with Diaz and Santana splitting 1B for their defensive abilities. Diaz and Santana are both Top 10 for 1B in both DRS and OAA. Choi is Top 10 for OAA, but drops drastically in DRS.

Having someone like Bae could make this possible as he can play anywhere, even CF. Signing a CF would be nice, although leaving Reynolds in CF likely opens more ABs in corner OF for someone like Andujar if they keep him as well.

Tim Williams

This is what I would like to see. I think there’s some upside with Diaz. I also think that he could keep Santana fresh as a younger defensive replacement.


I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point (likely not this iteration) that one of the lefty hitting AAA/MLB outfielders is dealt. While between AAA and MLB there is still room for all of them, at some point their may not be enough at bats to go around before some lose value.


This is the way

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I’ve been kind of expecting them to at least try and move an OF or two from the upper level crop. There’s a lot of them.

b mcferren

move Reynolds

Tim Williams

It does feel like waiting for another shoe.

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