Pittsburgh Pirates Make Aroldis Chapman Signing Official, Canaan Smith-Njigba Designated for Assignment

Apr 17, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Canaan Smith-Njigba (28) makes
Apr 17, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Canaan Smith-Njigba (28) makes / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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To make room for Aroldis Chapman on the 40-man roster, the Pittsburgh Pirates designated outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba for assignment on Wednesday

It was reported last week that the Pittsburgh Pirates and flamethrowing, multi-time All-Star reliever Aroldis Chapman had agreed to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million. On Wednesday, that signing was made official by the team.

To make room for Chapman on the 40-man roster, left-handed hitting outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba was designated for assignment.

Smith-Njigba being designated for assignment does not come as much of a surprise. After making the team out of spring training last season, Smith-Njigba hit for a .125/.216/.219 slash line with a 17 wRC+, 20 OPS+, and a -0.2 WAR in 37 plate appearances with the Pirates.

In 44 career PAs, all with the Pirates, Smith-Njigba owns a .135/.250/.243 slash line with a 38 wRC+. His first taste of MLB action in 2022 was cut short after just 7 PAs due to a broken wrist. Once part of the James Taillon trade, Smith-Njigba never developed the power that was expected at the time of the trade during his time with the Pirate organization.

Chapman will wear number 54 with the Pirates. He should serve as the primary set up man to closer David Bednar. Chapman and Bednar should pair together to create one of the best back end bullpen combinations in all of baseball.

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