Houston Astros center fielder Jose Siri, who has bounced back and forth between AAA and MLB, is drawing interest on the trade market.
As the rumor mill keeps on churning, the latest out of Houston is that Jose Siri has been the subject of some trade calls from other teams lately. Siri is what some fans would colloquially call a “AAAA-level player”: someone who is too good for AAA but not quite good enough for the majors, and would fit best at a level between the two if such a thing existed.
After a blazing start to his big-league career in September 2021 in which he posted a 155 OPS+ in 21 games, Siri has proven the dangers of judging young players based on a small sample size. This season, he has a 53 OPS+, as well as 48 strikeouts in as many games. He hit 4 home runs last year, a total he has yet to match in double the number of appearances.
Still, even for someone who just turned 27, it’s evident as to why teams want him. He is an excellent defensive player, with 8 Statcast outs above average in center field. That is higher than 97% of players this season despite the fact that he has appeared in less than half of Houston’s games. He also has blistering speed on the base paths, which he has used to steal 9 bags in 69 career games, a pace of 21 over 162 games. As well, in an age where baserunning efficiency is more valued than total steals, he has been caught stealing just twice in his MLB career.
He also has the potential to be way more than just a pinch runner or defensive replacement off the bench, which makes it puzzling as to why he hasn’t continued to take off at the major league level. In his career at AAA, which started in 2019 when he was still with the Reds organization, Siri is slashing .289/.344/.523, as well as 24 home runs, 94 RBI, and 30 steals in 137 games. In 13 games at AAA this season, he has 8 home runs and a slugging percentage of .828. That SLG% is beyond video-game numbers. It can be easy to overlook with his performance in the majors this year, but Siri is a power hitter. Even more than that, in AAA, he has been a premium a five-tool player.
The Astros should be using all of this as leverage, and if they trade him, they should ask for more in return than a standard fourth-or-fifth outfielder would get. It’s probably too big of a risk for a contender to give him extended time in center field this late in the season, should his failure to translate his minor league success to the majors continue. That doesn’t make him any less of an attractive candidate, though, to get some run on a team seeking outfield help next year, regardless of whether they’re contending or not. The Astros don’t see Siri as their long-term solution in center field, but he still carries potential, and should fetch a half-decent return as the team continues to search for a more established outfielder to acquire.