The SF Giants received a health update regarding one of their veteran bats. According to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, Austin Slater had elbow surgery on Wednesday with an estimated recovery time of four months.
Veteran SF Giants bat undergoes surgery, expected to be ready by spring training
Pavlovic notes that Slater had a bone spur removed and had a procedure to address nerve discomfort. The Giants hope that this is a sigh of relief for Slater, who has battled elbow pain for the past several years.
Oddly enough, the 30-year-old will enter the 2024 season as the longest-tenured active Giant if Brandon Crawford does not return. He made his major league debut back in 2017 and has been a staple in the Giants lineup since then.
For Slater, he will be entering his final year of arbitration this winter. He is projected to earn $3.6 million for 2024. That should be an easy decision for San Francisco. Though, the front office will need to consider whether there is a better use of his roster spot.
Slater has value to the Giants in the role that he fills, but likely would not fetch much on the trade market if they decided to pursue that avenue.
Since he debuted for the Giants in 2017, the right-handed bat has registered a .257/.345/.402 line (105 OPS+) with a 10.4 percent walk rate, 27.6 percent strikeout rate, and a .144 ISO. While his overall stat line is solid, Slater has really found a niche as a platoon hitter against left-handed pitching.
He has tallied an .837 OPS while often batting atop the lineup throughout his career against lefties. That is a tough role to fill given that playing time can be sporadic but Slater has done well to stay ready for when the matchup presents itself.
The seven-year veteran put together a nice 2023 campaign in which he recorded a .748 OPS with five home runs in 207 plate appearances. He got off to a hot start but nearly went a month without a hit in the middle of the year, which weighed his overall stat line down. Slater will be one story to follow once spring training begins as the Giants hope that he will be pain-free for the first time in years.