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Carlos Santana has bedeviled the Twins; now they are set to sign the veteran slugger

It's difficult to describe the signing of a designated hitter as an act of defense. But in the case of Carlos Santana, who has hit more home runs against the Twins than all but one opponent during the last 14 seasons, it's sort of true.

Santana, the longtime Cleveland first baseman whose 31 homers against Minnesota, and 17 in Target Field, trail only Salvador Perez since 2011, won't get to victimize Twins pitching, at least not in 2024. Santana and the Twins are close to agreement on a one-year contract with the Twins, a source with knowledge of the contract said, adding right-handed power to a team that led the AL in home runs in 2023.

The DH, first baseman and former catcher will be paid $5.25 million, the source confirmed. He must pass a physical before signing, and the Twins must clear a spot on their 40-man roster for Santana, who turns 38 in April.

Santana spent 10 of the first 11 seasons of his career in Cleveland, where he hit 216 home runs, fifth-most in franchise history. He's bounced around since then, spending the past three seasons with the Royals, Mariners, Pirates and Brewers. He hit 33 doubles and 23 home runs in 146 games last season in Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.

He's a familiar foe to Twins fans, however. Santana's 31 home runs, 174 hits and 104 RBIs are more than he has hit against any other opponent in his career.

Santana's bargain-priced power is reminiscent of the Twins' signing of Nelson Cruz, who was also 38 when he signed with the Twins in 2019. Cruz spent 2½ seasons in Minnesota, hitting 76 home runs and adding veteran leadership to a relatively young lineup.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Santana signed with the Dodgers as a 19-year-old in 2005. He was traded to Cleveland in 2008 and made his big-league debut two years later.