What the Brewers and Pirates Got in the Carlos Santana Trade

Carlos Santana of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Despite a resurgent campaign from former NL MVP Christian Yelich, the Brewers offense has been statistically one of the worst in Major League Baseball. Milwaukee bolstered the team’s lineup on July 27, as the Brewers picked up veteran slugger Carlos Santana from the Pirates. Here’s a closer look at Santana and Jhonny Severino, the 18-year-old shortstop that went the other way in the deal.

Related: What the Angels and White Sox Got in the Lucas Giolito-Reynaldo López Trade

The Brewers’ Return

  • 1B/DH Carlos Santana (.235/.321/.412 slash line, 12 home runs and 37 extra base hits over 94 games)

It’s been a bit of a renaissance season for Santana, who left Pittsburgh with a .235 average and .733 OPS – both figures are his highest since 2019. He did run into a rut in July, but recently, Santana has torn up opposing pitching. Despite a .189 average through his first 86 plate appearances of July, he recorded three home runs, seven hits, and eight RBI in his final five games as a Pirate.

The 37-year-old has long been a killer against left-handed pitching, but his splits this season are actually somewhat even.

  • LHP: .233/.312/.423, 10 home runs and 28 extra base hits in 285 PA (9.8% XBH%)
  • RHP: .239/.343/.380, two home runs and nine extra base hits in 108 PA (8.3% XBH%)

The veteran first baseman can still provide a fair amount of pop, and Santana’s been one of the more disciplined hitters in the past decade — that much hasn’t changed in 2023. His ability to stay on baseballs and work counts should be welcome in Milwaukee.

Santana isn’t the same hitter he was during his prime with the Guardians. Nonetheless, he’ll be called upon to play a role as Milwaukee pushes towards a playoff spot The Brewers are in first place in the NL Central at the moment, but Milwaukee does have several veterans, including Rowdy Tellez, Jesse Winker, and Brian Anderson on the IL.

The Pirates’ Return

  • SS Jhonny Severino (.250/.288/.583 slash line with four home runs and seven extra base hits in 12 games (ACL))

In return, the Pirates picked 18-year-old shortstop Jhonny Severino. Severino was a highly-touted international amateur prospect a few years ago, and signed with the Brewers in 2022 for $1.23M.

A 6 ‘1’’ right-handed hitter, Severino’s shown pop, bat speed, and good plate discipline in his brief time as a pro. In just 12 games in the ACL this season, Severino hit four home runs and seven extra base hits. Given his powerful frame and the early results he’s produced thus far, it’s not hard to see why public scouting reports indicated at the time of his signing that he could develop into a nice power hitter.

Between the fact that he’s shown good awareness at the plate and a fair amount of raw power, Severino could turn out to be quite the find for the Pirates.

The Verdict

In one of our Trade Deadline preview articles from earlier this month, we highlighted the Brewers’ struggles on offense this season. Milwaukee entered the day on July 27 with the fifth-worst team OPS (.689), so the fact that the Brewers added a power bat is not a shock.

While Santana may not be the flashy option, he’s proven this season that he can still provide value at the MLB level.

As for the Pirates, Pittsburgh picked up a high-ceiling prospect for a veteran that didn’t cost them much this past winter.