The Seattle Mariners have claimed outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Smith-Njigba had been designated for assignment by the Pirates on Jan. 31.
The Pirates acquired Smith-Njigba from the New York Yankees in 2021 as part of a four-player package in exchange for right-hander Jameson Taillon.
The 24-year-old begin his tenure in the Pirates’ organization in Double-A Altoona that year before being promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis at the end of the season.
Smith-Njigba made his major-league debut in 2022 and appeared in three games before fracturing his right wrist, an injury that sidelined him for the rest of the year. Before he was injured, he collected the first hit of his career against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Pirates had Smith-Njigba on their opening day roster in 2023, but the outfielder scuffled at the plate and hit just .125 (4 for 32) with a pair of extra-base hits and five RBIs in 15 games played. He was optioned down to Triple-A Indianapolis on Apr. 26 and did not appear in a game at the big-league level the rest of the season.
Though he didn’t have much success in his brief showing with the Pirates, Smith-Njigba has a solid minor-league track record. In six seasons in the minor leagues, he’s slashed .277 /.382/.429. In 105 games with Indianapolis in 2023, he hit .280 with an .839 OPS, 28 doubles, 15 home runs, 74 RBIs and 21 stolen bases.
Coincidently enough, Canaan is headed to the same city where his brother, Jaxon, just completed his rookie season as a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks selected the younger Smith-Njigba in the first round (20th overall) of the 2023 NFL Draft.