Giants Trade Longest-Tenured Player Austin Slater to Reds

Giants Trade Longest-Tenured Player Austin Slater to Reds
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The San Francisco Giants kicked off Major League Baseball’s trading season by sending utility player Austin Slater and cash considerations to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for left-handed pitcher Alex Young.

Slater, who has been with the Giants since the 2017 season, was their longest-tenured player and had been used in a platoon role for the majority of his major league career.

Slater’s Giants Career

Austin Slater being the Giants’ longest-tenured player in a sense perfectly encapsulates what the Giants have been the past eight seasons. The play often reflects floating in the middle as average, slightly below at times, and slightly above. During that stretch, the Giants have made the playoffs just once.

Slater’s career with the Giants peaked during Gabe Kapler’s time as the manager. Slater used in various roles, coming off the bench in pinch-hit situations, as well as splitting time in the outfield and at first base. In a shorted 2020 Covid season, Slater hit .282 with a .914 OPS. He followed it up with a career-high 12 home runs in 129 games played in 2021.

What This Means for the Giants

The 2024 season has been a struggle, to say the least for Austin Slater. Hitting just .200, with a .330 OBP, slugging .244, and has an OPS of .575 with a WAR of -0.3. Slater’s struggles at the plate have been a detriment to the Giants’ lineup and the development of outfielder Luis Matos.

Matos has shown flashes of potential in his stints in the Major Leagues this season, including National League Player of the Week honors in May. It has not come without his share of struggles in the box at times, which has prompted San Francisco to option Matos to Triple-A in June.

With Slater out of the picture, expect more consistent playing time for Matos. With more of a chance to play through those struggles at the Major League level and experience growing pains.

Heliot Ramos, named to his first all-star team on Sunday is 24 years old and was essentially on his last leg with the club. Without minor league options, it forced the hand of the Giants to keep him up, playing through mistakes and adjusting to the Major League pitching.

San Francisco receives Alex Young in return who’s appeared in three games this year. Young had a brief stint with the Giants in 2022, appearing in 24 games and having a 2.39 ERA. The Giants have since optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento.

What Austin Slater Means for the Reds

The Reds currently are 42-48, in fourth place in the National League Central. They are coming off a sweep at home by the Detroit Tigers. Cincinnati gets a 31-year-old Slater to help an injury-riddled lineup that is limping to the all-star break. Despite the underachieving play, Cincinnati is five games out of the last NL wild-card spot.

 

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Matthew Coleman

Matthew Coleman

Matthew Coleman is a student journalist at Long Beach State, where he works for the campus newspaper, the Daily 49er. He was a finalist for "Best Sports Writing" at the Los Angeles Press Club Awards in June 2024. Matthew is a huge Bay Area sports fan with his favorite team being the San Francisco Giants, some of his favorite players growing up were Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, and Pablo Sandoval.

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