The Blue Jays have acquired infielder Gift Ngoepe from the Pirates, per club announcements. The talented defender changes hands as the clubs go about trimming their 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 draft. A player to be named later or cash will head to Pittsburgh in return.
Ngoepe, 27, became the first African-born player to reach the majors when he debuted in 2017. Though he moved around in Pittsburgh, Ngoepe has spent the bulk of his minor-league time at shortstop and is regarded as a proficient middle infielder.
Ngoepe could function as an optionable utility piece in Toronto. But he’ll need to boost his offensive production to hold down a steady job in the bigs. In his first 63 MLB plate appearances, Ngoepe slashed just .222/.323/.296. He has never shown all that much punch in the minors, either, with a .221/.295/.362 composite batting line over three seasons at Triple-A, but clearly some major-league organizations still think there’s some hope for improvement.