SF Giants option young reliever in tough decision to bring back Austin Slater

Milwaukee Brewers v San Francisco Giants
Milwaukee Brewers v San Francisco Giants / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The good news is that Austin Slater is back. The right-handed bat had a brief rehab assignment with the Sacramento River Cats. However, the SF Giants made a tough move in optioning young reliever Tristan Beck back to Triple-A according to the team's transaction log.

SF Giants option young reliever in tough decision to bring back Austin Slater

Beck has performed well and the demotion to Triple-A is certainly not a reflection of his performance thus far. However, the righty was one of a few players on the active roster with minor league options remaining, so this was always a possibility.

Plus, Beck completed 3.1 innings and 3.0 innings on Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Giants were looking at this in terms of who might be the least available player over the next couple of days, and unfortunately, that would be Beck.

The right-handed pitcher debuted for the Giants in April. He really only had one bad outing and it was his first where he yielded four earned runs across 5.1 frames in a 9-4 loss against the New York Mets on April 20.

Since then, the 26-year-old has tallied a 3.43 ERA with 19 strikeouts against three walks in 21 innings while working as a bulk innings arm. That is a tough role for any reliever, especially a rookie. However, Beck handled it well and seemingly got better with more experience, which included 6.1 scoreless innings across his last two appearances.

The Giants needed a roster spot, especially given that they faced a lefty in Pittsburgh Pirates starter Rich Hill on Monday. The Giants have posted a .685 OPS against left-handed pitcher in 2023, which is the seventh-worst mark in baseball.

The return of Austin Slater should help in that regard. The 30-year-old has posted an .854 OPS against southpaws across seven seasons in the majors, so the Giants could really use his bat back in the lineup.

He will serve as the team's leadoff hitter against lefties while working primarily in center field along with Mike Yastrzemksi. That said, Slater has experience at all three outfield positions. The lineup is set to get a boost given how well Slater has performed in this role in the past.