With Mitch Haniger expected to miss all of spring training and possibly the first weeks of the 2020 season, the Mariners added to their outfield depth on the 40-man roster Monday, claiming outfielder Jose Siri off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
To make room for Siri on the full 40-man roster, reliever Matt Festa was designated for assignment. Seattle now has seven days to trade, release or outright Festa to the minor leagues if he clears waivers.
Siri, 24, was designated for assignment by Cincinnati on Jan. 27 after outfielder Nick Castellanos signed a four-year contract with the Reds. Siri spent parts of last season with Class AA Chattanooga and Class AAA Louisville, posting a combined .237/.300/.357 with 19 doubles, 11 home runs, 53 runs batted in and 26 stolen bases. He was ranked as the Reds’ No. 9 prospect by Baseball America in 2019 and 15th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline.
Per an opposing pro scout, Siri has outstanding physical tools and is a good defensive center fielder. But there are questions about his ability to hit at the MLB level — he struck out more than 30% of the time in his plate appearances at the Class AA and Class AAA levels. There have also been concerns about his attitude and makeup.
Festa, 26, made 20 appearances with the Mariners in 2019 after being named to his first opening-day roster, going 0-2 with a 5.64 ERA (14 earned runs, 22 1/3 innings pitched) with 21 strikeouts to 12 walks. He spent most of 2019 with Class AAA Tacoma, going 1-1 with five saves, a 2.64 ERA (9 earned runs, 30.2 innings pitched) in 23 appearances with 33 strikeouts.
Festa was originally selected by the Mariners in the seventh round of the 2016 MLB draft from East Stroudsburg (Pa.) University, becoming the highest draft pick in school history. He was the first player selected by general manager Jerry Dipoto in a Mariners draft to make the big leagues.