Twins finalize Carlos Santana contract, sign Jay Jackson for more bullpen depth

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins finalized their $5.25 million, one-year contract with first baseman Carlos Santana and added to their bullpen Wednesday by signing right-hander Jay Jackson and claiming right-hander Zack Weiss off waivers.

Jackson, a late bloomer who had a strong 2023 season with Toronto, got a $1.5 million, one-year contract.

The switch-hitting Santana and the Twins agreed to a deal last week, after the 37-year-old split last season with Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. He batted .240 with 33 doubles, 23 home runs and 86 RBIs in 146 games between the two clubs.

Santana also led all major league first basemen with 11 defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs analysis, and was a Gold Glove Award finalist. The Twins are the 2019 All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner’s seventh major league team in 15 seasons. He has 17 homers in 98 games at Target Field and a robust .356 on-base percentage over 1,930 career games.

“This guy can take a walk. He really knows the strike zone. He’s always been a tough out. He’s always a good at-bat, and he’s a really good clubhouse fit,” said Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey, who was in Cleveland’s front office when Santana began his career.

Santana has topped 600 plate appearances in every full major league season of his career except 2022. His presence will reduce the pressure on Alex Kirilloff and Jose Miranda, their previously existing options at first base. Both players missed significant time in 2023 to injuries. Santana can also factor in as a designated hitter, with an opening in the infield and in the lineup created by the recent trade of his offseason workout partner Jorge Polanco to Seattle.

The Twins have pared their payroll for 2024. They allocated cash that came from Seattle last week — in the trade that sent Polanco to the Mariners — toward the Santana signing. Starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, relief pitcher Justin Topa, top outfield prospect Gabriel Gonzalez and minor league pitcher Darren Brown were acquired by the Twins for Polanco.

The 36-year-old Jackson had a 2.12 ERA in 25 games last season. He spent four years in Japan, before returning stateside and pitching for Milwaukee in 2019. The Twins will be his sixth major league team.

Jackson will earn $1.3 million this season and could make as much as $5.45 million plus award bonuses over two years. His deal comes with a $3 million club option for 2025 and a $200,000 buyout.

He can earn $150,000 in performance bonuses for games pitched: $75,000 each for 50 and 60. His option price rises to $3.25 million with a $300,000 buyout with 50 games this year and increases to $4 million with a $350,000 buyout with 60 games.

Weiss had a 3.21 ERA in 12 appearances in 2023 for Boston and the Los Angeles Angels.

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AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed.

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