Giants trade Austin Slater, cash considerations to Reds for Alex Young – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

The longest-tenured Giants were unable to return to San Francisco after their last road trip.

Outfielder Austin Slater was traded to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday night for left-hander Alex Young, a reliever who made 24 appearances for the Giants in 2022 but was sent to Triple-A Sacramento. The Giants sent an undisclosed amount to the Reds along with Slater, who is eligible for $4 million this season.

Slater is the last holdout from a previous regime, though he thrived when placed in a platoon role under Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler. He was particularly effective during a 107-win 2021 season, posting an OPS of .894 against lefties and four pinch-hit homers, but this season has been a struggle.

Slater underwent elbow surgery last October and spent most of the spring battling back. He was just 5-for-39 before going on the IL in May, and while his production has improved since returning, he still hasn’t hit lefties at anything close to his previous velocity. Overall, he’s hitting .202 and has a .581 OPS with just one home run. He’s hitting just .174 against lefties, making him a tough matchup next to Mike Yastrzemski and Michael Conforto at the corners of the outfield.

The rare early-July trade signals that the Giants are ready to further commit to Luis Matos, a 22-year-old who has seen inconsistent playing time. Matos started just two games on the road trip but is now in line for additional reps. The Giants may also have made it easier to bring players off the 60-day IL, something they will have to do at least twice this month for Robbie Ray and Alex Cobb.

Slater was drafted in 2014 and played 592 games for the Giants over eight years. He has been outspoken in his support for the city of San Francisco after some struggles in free agency in recent years, and he also served as the team’s MLBPA representative for several years, guiding the Giants and MLB through the pandemic and a lockout. Slater now serves in a leadership role for the MLBPA.

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