SF Giants trade outfielder Austin Slater and reunite with a former Giant

The Giants say goodbye to their longest-tenured player.
San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages

The SF Giants traded outfielder Austin Slater to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday night in exchange for pitcher Alex Young and cash considerations. The Giants will be saying goodbye to the longest-tenured player on the team.

SF Giants trade outfielder Austin Slater and reunite with a former Giant

On the one hand this move is not completely surprising given the fact that Slater has struggled this season. His slash line for 2024 was a meager .200/.330/.244 with one homer and 9 RBI. However, it will not be easy to see Slater go especially after he has been a Giant for so long.

It is hard to believe that Slater has been playing for the Giants since 2017. He was a key part of the 2021 team that won 107 games as he was manager Gabe Kapler's go-to man against left-handed pitching, a role that he really excelled at for some time. It is a little ironic that the guy the Giants traded Slater for, left-handed reliever Alex Young (who was on the Giants back in 2022), gave up a home run to Slater in the 2021 campaign when Young was on the Diamondbacks. In fact, Slater has some ownage on Young in his career with 5 hits in 10 at-bats including a homer and a double.

The problem is that Slater was just not hitting lefties this season, sporting a lowly .174 against them. That saps a lot of the value he brings as an above-average defender with speed who rakes against lefties. With the big emergence of All-Star Heliot Ramos and the smaller emergence of Luis Matos, it just seemed like the Giants are moving on to a newer crop of right-handed hitting outfielders.

Slater should be remembered for his good times in a Giants uniform as well as his staunch defense of the city of San Francisco when the popular narrative that the city scares potential free agents took hold. He has been a key leader on the team and has worn the Giants uniform with pride. It is unfortunate that he ended his Giants tenure with struggles, but sometimes baseball has to be a business and this move made sense for the Giants right now.

Perhaps a fresh start in Cincinnati, with its notoriously hitter-friendly park, is just what Slater needs to get back on track and start hitting like we know he is capable of. Best of luck Austin Slater, you were a good Giant and by all accounts a good guy and Giants fans thank you for your time in a Giants uniform.