I know that’s an odd picture to use for this article. That said, it may well represent the moment the sharp rise of prospect Jose Siri up the Cincinnati Reds prospect ladder began to ebb, as he wrecked his thumb slamming into the CF wall that spring training day in early 2018, derailing his progress after a brilliant 2017 campaign.
Who knows exactly how much his thumb issue helped sap his offensive numbers after that, but the fact is that both his 2018 and 2019 seasons were disappointing. And when that happens while occupying a prized 40-man roster spot, the odds of being booted off the roster for someone else increase tremendously. That’s precisely what happened with the Reds and Siri on Monday, as he was designated for assignment to make room for the newly inked Nick Castellanos, as The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans relayed.
Also, #Reds DFA OF Jose Siri to make room for Castellanos— C. トレント・ローズクランズ (@ctrent) January 27, 2020
Siri, 24, remains a toolsy, dream-on prospect, one who mixes a rare combination of power, speed, and defense at a premium position. He’s a natural CF, something that the Reds roster didn’t really posess before his DFA, and now doesn’t appear to really have, either - depending, of course, on how longtime CF Shogo Akiyama takes to the big leagues in what will be his age-32 season.
Siri’s breakout came in the 2017 season - prior to said thumb issue - when he blasted 24 dingers, swiped 46 bags, and set the all-time Midwest League hit-streak record. To get that kind of production from any position would be special, but to get it from a plus defensive CF made him that much more intriguing. Since then, though, he’s been unable to replicate that production, though admittedly he’s been plying his trade in pitching havens in Daytona and Chattanooga largely since then. That said, he did earn a late-season promotion to AAA Louisville and the streamlined MLB ball in 2019, but literally failed to launch - he posted just a .497 OPS in 112 PA with the Bats.
Perhaps that’s why he got the DFA today, actually. While his skills are still drool-inducing, he simply hasn’t produced, and maybe that means the Reds will be able to slip him through waivers, especially this late in the offseason. There were ample other candidates to lop off the roster to make way for Castellanos, many of whom are out of options, but dumping Siri while he still had an option remaining is a curious choice. Add-in that the only other CFs on the roster at the moment are Shogo and Nick Senzel - who’s coming off labrum surgery - and it’s certainly a move that prompts further pondering.