The Mariners announced Wednesday that they have acquired an outfielder Canaan Smith Njigba From concessions from the Pirates. Right-hander Darren McCaughan He was designated for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster. At least for now, Smith-Njigba will be heading to the same city as his younger brother, Jackson, a big leaguer for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
Now 24 years old, Smith-Njigba was one of four players the Yankees traded to Pittsburgh in the trade that brought the right Jameson Taillon To the Bronx. He posted nice numbers in the minor league, but saw minimal time in the major leagues. Through 44 MLB plate appearances, Smith-Njigba was a .135/.250/.243 hitter, but he slashed .273/.366/.439 in parts of three Triple-A campaigns. That includes a 2023 season that saw him slash .280/.366/.473 (110 wRC+) with 15 homers, 28 doubles and triples, and 21-for-26 in stolen base attempts. Smith-Njigba also hit a solid 11.9% clip with Indy last season, but his 26.5% strikeout rate could improve.
Smith-Njigba has drawn praise for her raw power and above-average speed in the past, though that raw power has not translated into much in the way of home runs. Last year's 15 homers was a career high, and they've only reached double digits in homers in one other season. Smith-Njigba's strong walk rates and left-handed bat will help the Mariners replace some of the infield depth they lost when traded Zach DeLoach To the White Sox and Jared Kelenic To the brave. He has a minor league option remaining and has had reasonable success at almost every level of the minor league, as evidenced by his career .277/.382/.429 run in six professional seasons.
McCaughan, who turns 28 next month, has spent his entire career in the Mariners organization since he was selected in the 12th round of the 2017 draft. He has twice received a call-up to the major leagues but has only 14 MLB frames under his belt, and has During which he was severely criticized for 11 points gained. The right-hander posted respectable Triple-A numbers in a very league-friendly environment during the 2021-22 seasons but was pitched to a 5.83 ERA in 139 Triple-A frames in 2023. Overall, he carries a career 5.22 ERA in parts of five seasons with the company Tacoma's Mariners affiliate, although his aforementioned '21 (4.46 ERA, 121 innings) and '22 (4.55 ERA, 154 innings) performances were much better.
The Mariners will have a week to trade McCaughan or attempt to pass him through outright waivers. He still has a minor league option remaining. If he goes unclaimed, he would have the right to decline an outright assignment by ruling earlier in his career, but his long tenure in the Mariners organization could make him more likely to accept if things get to that point.
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