Carlos Santana agrees to sign with Twins (Source)

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins wasted no time in using the money they saved in the Jorge Polanco trade, as they reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with veteran Carlos Santana on Friday night, according to a source.

The club has not confirmed the deal, which is worth $5.25 million plus incentives, according to MLB Network insider John Heyman.

Although Santana will turn 38 shortly after Opening Day, he still provided 2.7 bWAR of value for the Pirates and Brewers last season by posting a slash line of .240/.318/.429 with 23 home runs per game. 146 games, which would have been a long ball shy of the Twins' lead. His switch-hitting bat and unwavering discipline at the plate will be especially important to coach Rocco Baldelli's lineup construction following Polanco's departure.

Santana, a longtime first baseman and designated hitter, has seen his health, defense and production noticeably increase over the years. It represents a very stylish and budget-friendly design for the needs of twins.

More importantly, Santana has hit better from the right side throughout his career, which continued with a .266/.354/453 slash (and .807 OPS) against southpaws last season. The Twins needed some right-handed production to balance their bullpen-heavy lineup, and Santana could give them an impact — and at least a very professional appearance — in that role.

The move also makes a lot of sense as the Twins ideally need more stability deep into their first base, where they will initially rely on a platoon of left-handed Alex Kirillov and right-handed Jose Miranda. Both come with a great deal of uncertainty. Kirillov has never stayed healthy in the majors, with a host of wrist and shoulder issues, and Miranda is coming off rotator cuff surgery and is completely lost for 2023.

Playing for the Twins has not been an issue with Santana in the outfield, as he is a National League Gold Glove Award finalist at first base and leads his position with 11 defensed runs saved, according to FanGraphs. He was always a positive advocate, Above average rank (62nd percentile) in fielding run value last season, per Statcast, and well above average (76th percentile) in range.

It's also worth noting that Santana has been a model of durability, averaging 152 games per season since 2011 (not counting the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign) and has never played fewer than 131 games in a full season in that time. Given the injury history of several key players in the Twins lineup, this holds special significance for roster composition.

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