The Pittsburgh Pirates reuniting with Carlos Santana this offseason could make sense
Since getting traded on July 27 to the Milwaukee Brewers in return for Jhonny Severino, Carlos Santana has shown interest in returning to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Overall, Santana may have the highest likelihood of all of the free agent first basemen to be pursued by the Pirates. Not only because of his cheap value, veteran leadership, or ability to connect with the Pirates but also because he can reinforce the locker room to make a playoff run.
The Brewers, who traded for Santana, have many problems, as previous first baseman Rowdy Tellez is demanding more playing time since he has barely played since the Santana trade. Along with this, the Brewers still have Keston Hiura in Triple-A, who could play for them next season.
Despite declining somewhat with the Brewers, Santana is doing pretty well this season. In 126 games, he has 19 home runs with 71 RBIs while batting .231, which is low. His walks boost his on-base percentage to .312, which is better than some first basemen.
He's around league-average, maybe a bit below league-average, defensively while being above average offensively. The Pirates and Brewers combined to pay him $6,750,000 in 2023, but it will probably go down a bit this upcoming season. He has been pretty consistent statistically. Exit Velo, a new MLB metric started in 2015, records how hard you hit the ball. In 2015, Santana's was 89.9, peaking at 92.5 in 2019, and today it's at 89.1. While it has declined quite a bit in the past few seasons, it's been pretty consistent.
While Santana will continue to decline due to age, he brings something different to the table, not just leadership, but he can connect with these young Pirates' from the Dominican Republic. Even this season, he was doing some of the translating for them on the mound. Currently, the Dominican Republic players on the Pirates' roster are Jose Hernandez, Luis Ortiz, Liover Peguero, Miguel Andujar, and Endy Rodriguez, along with players like Oneil Cruz, Dauri Moreta, and Roasny Contreras. Players like this often get homesick, since if they can't speak good English, and are often left out.
Adrian Beltre, a former MLB player with the Rangers, Dodgers, Mariners, and Red Sox, was born in the Dominican Republic. The story goes that when in the minor leagues with the Dodgers, he would go to McDonald's and didn't speak English, so he just pointed to the fast-food sign of what he wanted. But the burgers he loved always came with pickles, and he hated pickles.