Outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba
Acquired from the New York Yankees in the Jameson Taillon trade, outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba was once viewed as a potential future every day player for the Pirates. Unfortunately, that has not worked out and now his spot on the 40-man roster could be in jeopardy.
Smith-Njigba made his MLB debut in 2022, but was limited to just 7 PAs before a wrist injury ended his season. After a strong showing in the spring, Smith-Njigba started the 2023 season the Pirate roster. However, after hitting for just a .125/.216/.219 slash line with a 17 wRC+ and a 43.2% strikeout rate in 37 PAs he was optioned back to the minors.
After being optioned back to Triple-A at the end of April, he would only return to the majors once the rest of the season. He did not record a single PA in his return to the majors, though. The fact he did not record a PA in that trip to the majors and then did not return to the majors last season is likely pretty telling of how the Pirates view Smith-Njigba at this point.
It is hard to envision Smith-Njigba having any sort of future in Pittsburgh. He is behind Bryan Reynolds, Jack Suwinski, Henry Davis, Connor Joe, and Joshua Palacios on the outfield depth chart and there are other outfielders coming behind him. The Pirates may also add more outfield depth this offseason. To be honest, it might be a surprise to see Smith-Njigba remain on the 40-man roster throughout the offseason.