The Reds announced Thursday that they’ve designated outfielder Michael Siani and utilityman Alejo Lopez for assignment. That pair of moves will open space on the 40-man roster for outfielders Harrison Bader and Hunter Renfroe, whose previously reported waiver claims have now been announced by the team.
Siani, 24, made his big league debut with the Reds last year and has briefly appeared this season as well, though he has just 25 MLB plate appearances under his belt overall. He’s 4-for-24 in that time (all singles). The 2018 fourth-round pick has never provided much offense in the minors, where he’s a .244/.338/.362 hitter (including .230/.337/.360 in Triple-A), but his glove and speed are his calling cards.
Siani once ranked as high as eighth among Reds prospects at Baseball America, but his bat hasn’t come around much as he’s progressed through the system. He still draws praise for 60-grade speed — which is made evident by last year’s 52 steals — and plus-plus defense in center field, where he has both ample range and a strong throwing arm. Siani has also walked in 11.4% of his minor league plate appearances, so while his hit tool and power are lacking, he can still post respectable OBP marks and provide value both with his glove (at all three outfield spots) and on the basepaths.
While Siani isn’t an impact bat, he has the makings of a glove-first fourth outfielder and has two minor league option seasons remaining beyond the current year. That could add up to some interest on the waiver wire. The Reds will place him on outright waivers within the next five days.
The 27-year-old Lopez was just selected to the big league roster two days ago but didn’t appear in a game before being removed. He’s seen big league time in each of the past two seasons with the Reds. Lopez has hit for a solid but empty .262 average in 179 career plate appearances, getting on base at a below-average .307 clip with just a .321 slugging percentage. He has big league experience at second base, third base and in the outfield corners. He’s fanned in just 14.6% of his career plate appearances but also walked at a well below-average 5% clip.
Like Siani, Lopez will be placed on waivers within the next five days. Unlike Siani, he’s been outrighted previously in his career, so if he clears waivers he’ll be able to reject a minor league assignment in favor of free agency.