The Cincinnati Reds officially signed outfielder Nick Castellanos, who is back to being called Nick instead of Nicholas, earlier today. The Reds signed Castellanos to an interestingly structured 4-year deal, that includes two different opt-outs in it. To make room for Castellanos on the 40-man roster the Reds designated outfielder Jose Siri for assignment. And that’s where things get interesting.

Jose Siri is an outfielder who was on the 40-man roster with what feels like eleventy-billion other outfielders. Cincinnati has 10 players on the roster listed as outfielders, though that does include Josh VanMeter who can play more spots on the infield than he does in the outfield. No matter who you slice it, though, it’s a crowded roster of outfielders.

Given the fact that the outfield was so crowded, it made sense that it was going to be an outfielder who was going to be designated for assignment. Where things get a bit more confusing, though, is that it was Jose Siri. From the standpoint of who is most ready to contribute in Cincinnati on March 26th, he’s probably the 10th guy. But he’s also one of only three guys that the Reds can realistically send to the minor leagues after spring training ends. While technically Shogo Akiyama can be sent to the minors, he won’t be. The same can be said for Nick Senzel. That leaves Aristides Aquino, Josh VanMeter, and at the time Jose Siri as the outfielders with usable options back to Triple-A.

The Reds aren’t going to Opening Day with eight outfielders on the 26-man roster. Among the players out of options, or with unusable options are Phillip Ervin, Travis Jankowski, Mark Payton, and Scott Schebler. The chances that Cincinnati isn’t designating at least one of those guys during the spring are very small. It would take a multiple-step scenario for all of those players to make the Reds roster this spring. They’re almost guaranteed to lose someone in that group, and likely multiple someones.

All of them may be better options on March 26th than Jose Siri. But he could have remained in the organization and in the minor leagues. The above players are going to see someone designated from it in almost any reasonable scenario when March rolls around. They’ll have to clear waivers then – and maybe they will and can remain in the organization. But it’s interesting to see the thought process here that they kept those guys around over the toolsy, but flawed Siri who had options available. He may also clear waivers and can stick around – we’ll find out soon enough.

For Jose Siri and being claimed on waivers, there’s some appeal to another team. As noted, there are some flaws in his game. He strikes out a lot due to some struggles he has with pitch recognition. But he’s also explosive. When it comes to raw tools, he’s got plus power, plus speed, and plus defense in center field. If the pitch recognition doesn’t improve enough in 2020 for him to become a starting caliber player, when he has to stick on the roster in 2021 because he’s out of options, the defensive ability mixed with the base running ability gives him value off of the bench.

We’ll see if someone is willing to bet on the upside of Siri and put in a claim. I’d venture to guess that someone will, but wouldn’t be completely surprised if they don’t.

58 Responses

  1. Jon Ryker

    So, this is the first casualty of bringing in a DH to play LF. It is part of the cost. If they trade and Senzel and, say, Aquino or WInker for Lindor, they can then slide Moustakis to 3B, trade Suarez for a pile of good prospects a year or two away, and then look to pick up a couple relief pitcher bargains and have a pretty good shot at a nice run without destroying the future.

    • Oldtimer

      Senzel and Aquino or Winker WILL NOT bring Lindor in return.

      Lindor is currently the best SS in MLB.

      Senzel and Winker are injury prone. Aquino was the best player in MLB in August 2019. Not before or since.

      • Jon Ryker

        My thought was all three….there may need to be others….try to keep the young pitchers you have….obviously, Siri would be available as well.

        I think Senzel, Winker, Aquino (the next George Foster), and Siri would be a good haul for Lindor, given his cost and one or two years you’ll have him if you are Cleveland.

        Then, Suarez saves you Lindor money in the short term, and replentishes your minor league talent, while giving Moustakis everyday playing time at 3B and shoving Galvis to 2B until somebody beats him out.

        You then have Lindor and the new CFer at the top of the order, slide Votto to 3, Castellanos, Moustakis, and then the rest….THAT is a balanced offense that isn’t such a disaster defensively, with an opportunity to be financially sustainable when the starters start leaving in 2021.

      • Oldtimer

        Senzel and two more rated as highly as him might bring Lindor in return.

      • jon

        you are under valuing years of control. Senzel is under control until 2025. That is huge.

      • Jon Ryker

        No, I am stressing years of control of a very good player to get a big haul of talent back and fix my near future with one move. To get a lot of talent, you have to give something up…..Moustakis and Castellanos more than replace Suarez’ production. Trading Suarez will replace the guys you have to trade to get Lindor. It works perfectly, and is really the only reason I can see them signing those two guys in the first place.

    • Alex

      Keeping suarez on the team saves money since he is the best bargain for a 3rd baseman or maybe even one of the best contracts in all of MLB. Suarez cost a good bit less than moustakas also.

    • RedBob

      I don’t believe the Castellanos is a DH only. His fielding % as an OF is .990, not off the charts, but certainly not garbage either. In 51 games with the Cubs last year, he made ZERO errors. His fielding woes were much worse in the infield.

      • Jon Ryker

        Fielding percentage is not a valuable assessment of outfield play. Range is. He’s a DH. They’ll have to play him in LF, which will be ok if they improve SS, which Lindor would do dramatically.

    • Steve

      So your plan in the “GetTheHitting” offseason would include trading away the best hitter the Reds have in order to gain prospects???? I know this is and we all love the prospects and development of young talent but c’mon man…the Reds are, on paper the best pitching and hitting team in the NL central now.

      • Jon Ryker

        My plan is not “Get the Hitting” My plan is get a balanced team which will stay good after the expensive starters start leaving next year. But, Moustakis and Castellanos and the CFer do improve the offense overall.

      • Steve

        Well count me as one that is vehemently against your plan. As far as next year, Castellanos may opt out and for pitching it is Bauer and DeSclafani…why would this team not still be competitive next year and why greatly diminish the present to acquire prospects?

      • Jon Ryker

        I am not diminishing the present by acquiring Lindor or by putting Moustakis at 3B rather than pretending he can play 2B.. Without Suarez on the payroll, I might be able to afford to keep him in a year or two. In the mean time, I’ll have young, affordable talent I got from trading Suarez.

        Having two starters less than you do right now is substantially less competitive…..better have replacements lined up….preferably, young affordable ones.

      • Steve

        You stated that to get Lindor you believed it would take Senzel, Winker, and Aquino…then you also want to trade Suarez…that is absolutely diminishing the present. In that Scenario our OF is Shogo, Castellanos and Ervin with Janikowski and Payton behind them….our IF then is Votto, Vanmeter, Lindor and Moose. That is in no way better than currently constructed. You keep saying we need young affordable starters…Suarez is locked up until 2024 on an incredibly team friendly deal

      • Jon Ryker

        Yes, because it will take at least those three guys to get Lindor, possibly more. You will then have no young talent left, and a team with two expensive 3rd basemen, and losing half it’s starting staff next year and no money left to spend.

        So, to fix that, you trade Suarez to get a pile of very good young prospects, and you have Suarez salary to play with for the next four years.

        No, the infield is Votto, Galvis, Lindor, Moustakis. Outfield is Shogo, Castellanos, Jankowski, Ervin, and whoever wins the RF job….you could even buy somebody to fill in there……it doesn’t matter…they’re gonna hit 7th. And your defense is much, much better….the top of your order is much, much better….

        Team fixed…..and sustainable, with the best SS in the game, a good pitching staff, solid veteran middle of the order hitters, and young talent on the way.

      • Jon Ryker

        I meant young, affordable STARTING PITCHERS…..they have 3rd basemen stacked up in the system for the foreseeable future, even without Suarez.

      • Steve

        Suarez is not expensive!!! It is one of the team friendliest deals in MLB. The Reds can continue to sustain having a good team because they have talent under contract and can choose to spend money. There is absolutely no evidence that there will be no money to spend next year. The fact the team just dumped a ton of money into the team now shows that they could have been doing it for years and had chose not to do so.

        Additionally, the can give Bauer a QO, regain a pick when he leaves and plug in Mahle for DeSclafani when he leaves and hope Lodolo is on a quicker path to the league.

        For all the losing the Reds have done recently it is mind-boggling when people now are wanting to trade away a young, inexpensive and team-controlled player in Suarez (the best hitter on the team) so that maybe we can get some prospects back that maybe one day help the team.

      • Steve

        I won’t argue with you anymore, we can certainly agree to disagree here and I will just be happy that the Reds will not be moving Suarez for prospects any time soon.

    • Muddycleats

      Problem is I can’t remember a trade where Reds ever got a haul in Return for anyone ? Cueto should have – flat out didn’t! IF u trade Eugenia, I’d rather get one player back of equal talent @ position of need instead of “hoping” one or two guys develop. Reds don’t exactly have good track record of developing young players either

  2. Seadog

    I get the feeling he is involved in a trade they are working on. So, just DFA him until trade is announced. There is no other “logical” explanation I can think of.

    • Frostgiant80

      If he has been DFA’d then he can’t be traded because he is on waivers. Am I missing something?

      • Norwood Nate

        I think even on waivers, the Reds still have a certain amount of time to work out a trade. Similar to how we’ve added guys like DeLeon or trades guys like O’Grady after designation.

  3. Jack

    His pitch recognition is bad and always has been. Great defensive player but can anyone these days carry someone like that? I don’t think so and he will clear waivers and be back in AAA.

    • Dawson

      I would be surprised if he cleared waivers. It is a very low risk opportunity for a guy with a ton of potential.

  4. Jim M.

    I honestly thought Scott Schebler would be the odd man out and not Siri.

      • Gaffer

        All this concern over a guy that will never be a MLB factor is pointless. Yes the reds have too many OF, but only 3 actual starting caliber players. Who cares about the fodder.

    • Tom

      Schebler does have a nice MLB data set to point to, and between him and Siri he would most likely help 2020-2021 seasons in all 3 OF spots if Akiyama falters, injures, etc. I’d prefer to give Payton a shot this year, as he doesn’t have the shoulder thing and has more recent success. But one of the bold predictions I could imagine would be that Scott Schebler hits 15 HR with the Reds in 2020.

  5. MK

    Of the 10 guys listed as outfielders 4 were and are right-handed hitters. I never understood the Jankowski pick-up and he has about as much chance of making the team as Siri did. Can not imagine his outfield defense is better than Siri’s.

    • Alex Reds

      The Reds must feel very confident Siri won’t be able to hit and get on bass in the future. They didn’t need a 40 man roster spot with a couple guys really expendable.

      I’ll add that this is the same franchise that decided Aquino couldn’t hit… one year before he could hit.

    • Jefferson Green

      Jankowski is insurance only. (The Reds got him before getting Shogo.) He doesn’t have nearly the upside of Siri, but at this late point in his development, Jose is a low probability to overcome his hitting woes and become an MLB regular. And if the Reds need a CF at some point in 2020, Siri would be an absolute liability at the plate (he was completely overwhelmed at AAA in his month there, and his winter ball numbers were poor, too), so while no big hitter, Jankowski would be better at this point.

  6. Dawson

    I’m glad that a trade possibility was mentioned here. I hadn’t thought of that and it has to be the case. Otherwise this makes no sense whatsoever.

    • Alex Reds

      Not much trade leverage on waivers unless a team has to have him. As such, the trade return will be minimal and not the same caliber of prospect unless Senzel is packaged in

  7. Stock

    From what I hear:

    1. Siri has a very inconsistent bat path. This leads to many of his K’s
    2. Plus raw power does not translate due to swing unpredictability
    3. Siri takes a lot of pitches on the outer half of the plate. This leads to K’s too.
    4. Siri steal’s are due to his speed and has no feel for SB.

    I have dropped him well down on my prospect list. I feel he and Jankowski are both expendable.

  8. Ryan

    I thought Payton would of been returned to the A’s but not too terribly surprised by this.

    Siri struck out 126 times in 400 some PA’s in AA and didn’t do much in AAA. He was rated by this sites author just a few spots behind Jonathan India, who had a +.400 obp in AA and an OPS .90+ ahead(in his first full season as a pro). India will be a top 50 prospect after next season and Siri might, just might be able to hammer down a 5th OF spot somewhere(not with the Reds, even if he’s not claimed).

    It’s a negligible loss, and 2 more OF’s can be dfa’d after camp for relief help and the future, nor the present, will be altered much at all.

  9. Bigreds

    “Shogo could technically be sent to the minors” I thought the Shogo contract specifically stated he could not be sent to the minors?

  10. Daryl

    I cannot believe this wasnt Schebler. Or Payton. There is no way he makes this roster now. I thought it would be tough when we took him but now I dont think there is any way he Maes the 26 man.

    We still need bullpen help. I really like the Nate Jones pick up but I still think that is a weakness for the club. And it is pretty late in the FA game to grab someone. Maybe Rodney?

    • Daryl

      Or Strop or even Taijuan Walker. I like Walker as a good change of scenery type.

      And Strop would be fun just to stick it to the Cubs again.

    • Norwood Nate

      I guess one alternative is the Reds trade for Semien and work out a way for Payton to be included and then they could option him…but yeah it’s tough to see how he fits. His case for making the roster has only become murkier with the latest OF additions.

  11. Norwood Nate

    Sorry to see him designated. I thought he’d be safe due to options. If the Reds trade an OF’er (Senzel or Winker), and still keep 5 OF’ers (Ervin, Aquino, Castellanos, Akiyama and whoever’s not traded) they’ll lose all their depth on the 40-man with only JVM as depth, and he’s not really an OF’er.
    Crook should be ready, could be a make or break year for him.

    • Stock

      This assume Jankowski is not in Louisville. I agree he has to be DF’d but is he really good enough for someone else to put on their ML squad?

  12. Brian Green

    How on earth did they just not release schebler. Bad move.

    • Gaffer

      I think Scott gets cut soon anyway but Schebler has shown he can play in MLB. Siri has zero chance of playing in the next 2 years and at least 50 percent ever. His ceiling is lower than Scheblers too. This team will miss neither.

  13. Tom

    Happy for Dusty!

    Hopefully he doesn’t lose game 7 of the WS to the Reds, a Reds sweep would be the merciful thing.

    • Oldtimer

      Indeed. Dusty had winning record (.524) as Reds manager. His successor (Bryan Price) had losing record (.419). Huge mistake by Reds front office and ownership in 2013.

      • Doug Gray

        They also had very, very different levels of talent on those teams.

      • Oldtimer

        Not really. In many cases, the very same talent. Bryan Price was a terrible manager. The worst Reds in my lifetime (born 1951) by far.

        Horrible decision by front office and owner to boot Dusty. The Reds booted Sparky in 1978 so it wasn’t their dumbest decision ever.

      • docmike

        Doug is right. Completely different talent levels that Dusty had compared to Price. Dusty underachieved with a team that was built to win it all in 2012. Price, on the other hand was handed a broken down Pinto. No surprise he never made it out of the garage.

      • Oldtimer

        Sorry, wrong. Bryan Price was a TERRIBLE manager. He will never manage again in MLB. No other manager in Reds history with W-L record as bad as Price lasted longer than 2 years. He lasted into his 5th year.

        Dusty Baker is a good manager, to wit:

        Astros Agree To Terms With Dusty Baker

        The Astros have found their replacement for recently fired manager A.J. Hinch, having reached an agreement on a “short-term” deal with veteran skipper Dusty Baker, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). It’s a two-year pact, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. Nightengale reported yesterday that Baker was the team’s choice, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman added that a deal would be finalized today.

        When Baker formally puts his signature on a contract, it’ll set the stage for a fascinating season in Houston. The Astros are loaded with talent but face no shortage of organizational adversity in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal that resulted in the firing of prior manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow. The club has yet to hire a new baseball operations leader.

        Baker, who commands a presence as large as anyone else in the game, certainly comes with an old-school vibe that runs counter to the analytically driven organizational culture that had predominated in Houston. But the job of this skipper will be to help guide the team through a difficult stretch; Baker is generally beloved in clubhouses and charming with the press. And his different cultural mooring may well be an asset in this case.

      • Oldtimer

        One more. Why did the Reds fire Dusty Baker in 2013?

        … Certainly, he was the most accomplished, winning 1,863 games in his 22-year career with seven first-place finishes and a National League pennant. He could become the first manager to lead five teams to postseason berths.

        Baker is one of only seven managers, joining Hall of Famers John McGraw, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, Sparky Anderson, Joe McCarthy, Walter Alston and Leo Durocher with that many victories and a .532 winning percentage …

  14. Dark

    Wilmer Flores is a free agent who was also a shortstop we should consider him

  15. AllTheHype

    Siri was missing the most important tool, the hit tool. You can be plus at some other tools, but if you are an OF and you’re approaching your age 25 season after 7 seasons in the minors and you do not possess the hit tool or pitch recognition ability, you are not a viable prospect (except on Doug’s list) and you’re not going to be in professional baseball very much longer.

    See Yorman Rodriguez, similar scenario, few years back. Very similar career stats, same age when released.

  16. Justin

    Question for Doug, I have heard you say Senzel is not a Shortstop. I have also heard you say that you would not trade Senzel because you think he is a future all star. So my question is would you rather them trade him or put him at shortstop of those 2 choices?