The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their third addition of the offseason at first base by signing veteran Carlos Santana to a one-year deal
Entering the offseason is was abundantly clear that first base was a position that the Pittsburgh Pirates would need to address. Well, Ben Cherington started to address the position early in the offseason and has not stopped.
First, Cherington and the Pittsburgh Pirates traded for Ji-Man Choi from the Tampa Bay Rays. The team then claimed Lewin Diaz after he was designated for assignment by the Miami Marlins. Now, according to Jeff Passan, they have signed veteran Carlos Santana to a one-year deal.
The switch-hitting Santana will reunite with Derek Shelton, who was Santana’s first hitting coach at the major league level. Last season with the Seattle Mariners, Santana hit for a .202/.316/.376 slash line with a 102 wRC+ and a 100 OPS+. He hit 19 home runs, marking the 11th time in the last 12 seasons that he hit at least 18 home runs.
Against left-handed pitching Santana was a strong hitter in 2022. Santana hit for a .265/.387/.402 slash line with a wRC+ of 134 against LHP last season. It would not be a surprise to see Santana and Choi platoon at designated hitter with Diaz, due to his great glove at first base, handling a lot of the load at first base next season. Both Choi and Santana should play first base in 2023 as well.
In addition to what he will add offensively, Santana should also bring some much needed veteran leadership to a young Pirate bunch. Santana should emerge into a clubhouse leader which is something the 2023 edition of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club will need. Best of all, it is great to see the Pirates make another move that indicates they will at least attempt to be competitive in 2023 instead of just punting on the season.