Pittsburgh Pirates add yet another first baseman in Carlos Santana

The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to corner the market in bounceback first basemen.

Ji-Man Choi was acquired in a trade with the Rays. Lewin Diaz was claimed off of waivers as the Pirates are taking a chance on the formerly well regarded prospect. And on Friday, the Pirates went back to that well again as they have reportedly signed Carlos Santana to a one year deal worth $6.7 million.

Pittsburgh Pirates hoping Carlos Santana can bounce back

Santana has struggled to hit for much of an average since the pandemic shortened 2020 season, posting a combined .207/.323/.355 batting line in his 1420 plate appearances since the start of that season. He still had a bit of power, could draw a walk, and made plenty of contact, but the hits simply were not dropping in.

That was the case last year as well. He posted a .202/.316/.376 batting line in his 506 plate appearances between the Royals and Mariners last season, hitting 19 homers while drawing 71 walks and striking out just 88 times. Even then, 15 of those homers came during his 79 games in Seattle last year.

While those numbers may have disappointed, the metrics indicated that Santana deserved better. He had an expected .253/.352/.438 batting line per his Statcast page while his barrel rate, average exit velocity, and hard hit rates were all well above average. Add in his elite walk rate and it is possible that Santana can be a bargain.

That is what the Pirates are hoping for. At 37 years old at the start of the season, he is clearly not going to be a long term option in Pittsburgh. But he could be someone that the Pirates can flip to a contender at the deadline, especially if his performance is closer to what would have been expected given his batted ball metrics.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have added yet another first baseman. Carlos Santana is the latest reclamation project to be given a chance to prove himself.