August 13, 2022

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Rays land OF Siri in 3-team deal with Astros, O's

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ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays dealt away two well-regarded pitching prospects to acquire their new center fielder as part of a three-team trade on Monday while also making the difficult decision to part ways with popular outfielder Brett Phillips.

The Rays acquired outfielder Jose Siri from the Astros and will likely install the 27-year-old as their regular center fielder. To get Siri, they shipped Minor League right-hander Jayden Murray to the Astros and right-hander Seth Johnson (their No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, who will have Tommy John surgery later this week) to the Orioles as part of a deal that also sent Trey Mancini from Baltimore to Houston.

TRADE DETAILS
Rays get: OF Jose Siri (from Astros)
Orioles get: RHP Seth Johnson (Rays’ No. 6 prospect) and RHP Chayce McDermott (Astros’ No. 12 prospect)
Astros get: 1B/DH Trey Mancini (from Orioles) and RHP Jayden Murray (from Rays)

To make room for Siri on their roster, the Rays will designate Phillips for assignment. That move does not come easily given who Phillips is, a fan-favorite Seminole High product who sparked an unforgettable walk-off victory in Game 4 of the 2020 World Series with one of the biggest hits in franchise history. Phillips has been arguably the best defensive outfielder in baseball this season, but he’s struggled to a .147/.225/.250 slash line while striking out in 41 percent of his plate appearances.

In Siri, the Rays are getting a new center fielder with elite speed, as evidenced by his 100th percentile sprint speed, according to Statcast, and someone who plays excellent defense, as he ranks in the 97th percentile by Outs Above Average and is tied for the MLB lead among center fielders with 8 Defensive Runs Saved.

But Siri has not performed well at the plate in the Majors this season. The right-handed hitter is slashing just .178/.238/.304 with 48 strikeouts in 48 games for the Astros, with only four hits in his last 56 big league plate appearances.

Siri put up good numbers over 21 games with the Astros last season, however, and has put together a .296/.346/.775 line with nine homers over 16 games for Triple-A Sugar Land this season. The Rays believe he’s recently made offensive adjustments that should improve his offensive performance, creating a potentially dynamic center fielder to play alongside recently acquired left fielder David Peralta and Randy Arozarena.

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