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MLB Rumors: Carlos Santana, Pirates Agree to 1-Year, $6.7M Contract in Free Agency

Adam WellsNovember 26, 2022

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 15: Carlos Santana #41 of the Seattle Mariners single during the twelfth inning against the Houston Astros in game three of the American League Division Series at T-Mobile Park on October 15, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Needing to add some pop to their lineup, the Pittsburgh Pirates are hoping for a rebound season from Carlos Santana.

Per ESPN's Jeff Passan, Santana has agreed to a one-year deal with the Pirates worth $6.7 million.

Santana's deal for the 2023 season is bigger than any free-agent contract that the Pirates handed out last offseason.

Even though the Pirates are unlikely to be big spenders for any of the top players on the free-agent market, they could pursue some under-the-radar options in an attempt to avoid losing 100 games for the third consecutive season.

Per Spotrac, Pittsburgh has only $18.275 million in active payroll before the addition of Santana. Ke'Bryan Hayes, Bryan Reynolds and Miguel Andujar are the only players with guaranteed contracts.

The Pirates' payroll will go up when you factor in all of the players on the roster who are eligible for arbitration or are in their pre-arbitration years. Spotrac projects the team's payroll will increase by approximately $25.5 million when factoring in those salaries.

Even though Santana won't dramatically change the Pirates' fortunes next season, he can be a positive influence for a young team that is trying to take steps forward. The 36-year-old has been around many successful teams throughout his career, including with Cleveland during its run to the World Series in 2016 and with the Seattle Mariners last season.

Santana began the 2022 campaign with the Kansas City Royals before being traded to Seattle in June. He hit only .202/.316/.376 with 19 homers and 60 RBI across 131 games.

The Pirates can only hope the power output that was present during Santana's run with the Mariners is back in 2023. He hit 15 homers and slugged .400 in 255 at-bats after the trade.

Adding Santana to a lineup that projects to have Reynolds and Oneil Cruz is a good starting position for Pittsburgh's front office. Top prospects like Henry Davis, Liover Peguero and Nick Gonzales could all arrive next season to make the offense even more formidable.

No one should expect the Pirates to be playoff contenders after adding Santana, but it's at least a good sign that ownership is letting the front office spend to improve the roster.