Last week the Cincinnati Reds designated outfielder Jose Siri for assignment when they needed to clear a spot on the 40-man roster after signing outfielder Nick Castellanos. Siri was one of 10 outfielders on the 40-man, so it’s unsurprising that it was an outfielder that was being designated for assignment. What was surprising is that it was one of the few that had options remaining instead of one of the handful who didn’t, but also don’t seem to have a spot lined up for them on the big league roster.

Perhaps the organization felt that it was more likely that Jose Siri would get through waivers than some of the other players would and that they would be able to keep him in the organization. If that was the case, the bet was incorrect. The Seattle Mariners are going to take their chances that they can use the final option year for Siri to help develop his bat further.

When it comes to explosive tools, Jose Siri has them. He’s a plus-plus speed guy who has stolen 45+ bases in the minor leagues in the past. He’s a plus defender in center field with a strong arm. And he’s got above-average to plus power potential in his bat. There’s a whole lot to like when it comes to that pure athleticism side of things with the outfielder.

But he also has a rather big weakness in his game. His pitch recognition skills aren’t great, and while they have improved some over the years, they still leave plenty to be desired. Last season he had a career high 42 walks. But he also had a career high 165 strikeouts in just 517 plate appearances. The inability to identify pitches quickly enough hasn’t allowed his raw hitting ability to play. It’s led to some low batting average, and mixed with the low walk rates, it’s also led to low on-base percentages over the years.

The 24-year-old is going to get one more year in the minors before he’s got to stick to a Major League roster. Seattle is getting a high upside player here. But they are also getting a player in Jose Siri that will need to show some big improvements at the plate if he’s going to be more than a bench guy who can run the bases well and provide strong defense, too.

18 Responses

  1. Greg

    Have seen him play a number of spring training games the last couple of years and he was overmatched. I think he made an error or bad defensive play in every game he was in.( over throwing cutoff man, etc.) From the spring training appearances, I never thought he would do much in the majors.

  2. Andrew

    Being an AL team that claimed, if Im not mistaken that means all NL teams passed and, not knowing AL records last year but assuming Seattle was middle of the pack, half the AL passed on him.

    In my non expert opinion, I just dont ever see him being more than a 5th OF. Surprised the Royals passed. Seemed like their type.

    Its gotta be weird for Doug to follow him all these years and then see him go in a pretty boring manner. Just goes to show that prospects, even top 10 or 15 org prospects, are pretty disposable. I saw a lot of outcry over Friedl from sone this offseason not being protected and hes still kicking around.

    Interestingly I kinda like the guy the M’s dropped to grab Siri.

    • MK

      Seattle had 5th worst record in A.L.

      Over the last 5 years Seattle has picked up a lot of former Reds farnhands: Long, Waldrop, Encanarcion, Vincej, Mejias-Brean plus Siri to name a few. Seems they like the system.

      • Oldtimer

        Encarnacion was hardly just a former Reds farmhand. He was MLB star with most HR (or almost) in past decade.

  3. Michael E

    I am mostly disappointed in that the Reds kept some very mediocre, older OFs on the 40 man when they could have given Siri ONE more season in AA or AAA to see if he could take a next step.

    He looks like a kid that won’t quite put it together, but still, given the defense and speed, and power, you’d like to keep those as long as possible before giving up, especially when keeping them is low risk.

    Oh well, what’s done is done and he likely won’t ever be a star, but there is a flicker of hope remaining, which a few OFs on our 40 saw extinguished years ago.

    • Oldtimer

      He had 7 seasons in MiLB with Reds. Plenty of time to show what he could do.

      • RojoBenjy

        Yes- but to Michael E’s point—do you really think Scott Schebler will play for the Reds in 2020? Guys like him should be taken off the 40 man before Siri.

        Then again, over the 7 years in milb that you mention, Siri has had question marks surrounding his makeup—his want-to, his temper.

        They had probably seen enough.

      • Oldtimer

        It depends whether his shoulder injury has healed. He hit 30 HR in MLB in 2017 season. If healthy, yes. He could very well be a Reds OF in 2020.


    The Mariners feed suggested part of the problem for Siri was the Reds tinkering his swing. Different coaches had different approaches so there was no consistency.

  5. Dawson

    Still not happy with the Reds on this one. Not a huge deal, but why give up on a prospect with the tools and potential he has? Especially when you can drop a guy like Romano, Jankowski, Blandino, or Payton…all of which you pretty much know what you are getting with them.

    • jbonireland

      They no longer considered him a prospect, more of a suspect.

  6. mac624

    Other than a late inning defensive replacement, the Reds lost nothing. Sure he’s has tools, but so do so many players. For 7ish years he’s proven he misses way way way too many pitches. Yeah he may have “tools”, but he wasn’t going to beat out any of our OFers this coming season or anytime soon. He’s had more than enough time to prove himself. If his hit tool was anything, the Reds would have kept him. No loss here.

  7. amdg

    As a hitter who strikes out a lot and struggles to get on base, he was never going to reasonably crack the Reds lineup – especially with all the pieces they added this winter.

    Apparently he’s outlived the hype from his hitting streak during the 2017 season, or else the Reds may have been able to get a low-end prospect for him, instead of losing him outright.

    Folks weren’t too upset when the Reds finally let Billy Hamilton go, so there shouldn’t be any heartburn for losing a very poor man’s Billy Hamilton.

  8. Martino

    He may or may not become a fan favorite in Seattle, but if i had to bet I wouldn’t bet. He’s a guy who may have that one great season and lead someone to the WS, but on the other hand he might never make it to the bigs and lead some ML team to their championship. OR…he may just fade into obscurity.

  9. Dollar Bill

    I talked down on Siri a couple months back and Doug threatened to ban me.

    Apparently the Reds agreed with me .

    I am looking forward to spring training and a better season from the Reds.

    • Doug Gray

      Let’s be clear: You got your warning because of what you said, not simply because you didn’t think he was good.