The Astros are receiving trade interest in outfielder Jose Siri, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who adds that “a number of teams” have explored trading for the 27-year-old. Each of the Phillies, Marlins and Brewers have been seeking center field help, Rosenthal notes, though he doesn’t explicitly indicate that any of the three have had substantive talks with Houston.
Interest in Siri comes from other clubs at a time when the Astros are apparently seeking more proven options in center field, but it’s plenty understandable if other clubs would look at Siri’s strong MLB debut in 2021 and his outstanding Triple-A track record and hope he can emerge as a valuable long-term piece if they can land him in a deal with Houston. While he’s something of a late bloomer, having turned 27 just six days ago, Siri hit .304/.347/.609 with four homers and three steals in a tiny sample of 49 plate appearances during last year’s MLB debut. This season, he struggled to a .178/.238/.304 slash in a larger (but still relatively small) sample of 147 trips to the plate.
Houston has twice optioned Siri to Triple-A Sugar Land this season (most recently one week ago), and in the 13 games he’s played there, he’s ripped eight home runs and batted .293/.354/.828 in 65 plate appearances. That eye-popping production from the right-handed-hitting slugger is further backed up by a huge .318/.369/.553 slash through 394 plate appearances with Houston’s top affiliate last season. Overall, he’s played in 107 games and tallied 462 plate appearances with the Astros’ Triple-A club, crushing 24 homers and swiping 25 bags in that time. Siri also posted through-the-roof defensive numbers in 315 innings of center field work for Houston this season: 8 Defensive Runs Saved, a 6.6 Ultimate Zone Rating and 7 Outs Above Average.
While that combination of minor league production and exceptional defensive grades at the big league level is quite appealing, Siri’s strikeout woes are the proverbial elephant in the room. He’s had issues making contact since reaching the Double-A level with Cincinnati back in 2018. Siri punched out in 32.2% of his plate appearances that season and has continued to whiff in more than 30% of his plate appearances at nearly every stop since. He’s fanned “just” 16 times in Triple-A this year (24.6%), but Siri has fallen victim to a strikeout in one-third of his MLB plate appearances and in 30.9% of his total Triple-A plate appearances.
There’s extra reason for the Astros to consider offers on Siri, given that he’s in his final minor league option season. As a win-now club, Houston understandably seeks an immediate contributor in center, and while it’s tempting to say they should be patient with Siri given the power/speed/defense blend, he’ll have to be carried on the Major League roster next year or else be exposed to waivers. Considering his raw tools and Triple-A production (and the current trade interest), it’s quite likely he’d be claimed by another team if things were to reach that point, so extracting some value for Siri right now makes sense if the Astros can find a deal to their liking.
Siri has not yet accrued even one year of Major League service, though if he spends enough time on a big league roster down the stretch, he could still get there. Even if he does reach that point, he could still be controlled another five years beyond the current campaign (or six more if he spends another 17 days in the minors this year).