Reds Acquire Austin Slater – MLB Trade Rumors

The Reds and Giants reached an agreement late in the night just three weeks before the trade deadline. According to an announcement from both clubs, the Reds have acquired the midfielder Austin Slater From San Francisco to Left Alex YoungCincinnati also received cash as part of the deal, and the Giants gave Young a third-division option after the deal.

Slater, 31, has been with the Giants organization for more than a decade. His career began when he was selected by the club out of Stanford in the eighth round of the 2014 draft, though he didn’t make his major league debut with the club until his age-24 season in 2017. Slater was largely a part-time player during his first few years in San Francisco, amassing just 544 major league appearances between 2017 and 2019. In that limited playing time, he posted a healthy .254/.335/.368 line and was good for a 92 wRC+ while splitting time between all three outfield positions, first base and even making brief appearances at both second and third base.

The shortened 2020 season saw Slater emerge in a big way, posting a stellar 150 wRC+ for the Giants while appearing in 31 of the club’s 60 games that year while mostly playing right field and the club’s DH. This offensive explosion earned Slater a larger role in the years to come, and while most of his playing time still came against left-handed pitching, he carved out a more suitable role for himself in the platoon rather than the backup outfield role he had previously been used to. Slater handled the increased responsibilities exceptionally well, and between the 2020 and 2023 seasons, the left-handed hitter hit .259/.352/.421 (118 wRC+).

That line goes from solid to impressive when we look exclusively at his production against lefties, whom he crushed to a .285/.380/.486 mark with a wRC+ of 141. That production against lefty pitchers was good for 17th-best in baseball during that four-year span, on par with star hitters like Jose Altove And Xander Bogaerts.

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While the Giants have relied heavily on Slater as a platoon partner on a left offensive line that features strong players like Mike Yastrzemski, Michael ConfortoAnd Jock Pedersen Over the years, Slater’s playing time has been limited by injury issues. Since the start of the 2020 season, Slater has made seven trips to the injured list due to issues with his groin, hamstring, wrist and hand, as well as multiple concussions. Slater also required elbow surgery in the last offseason to remove a bone spur and relieve nerve pain.

A long list of injury issues likely contributed to what has been a difficult 2024 season for the 31-year-old, who hit just .200/.330/.244 in 112 trips to the plate this season amid a monthlong stay on the injured list due to a concussion earlier this year. Those struggles eventually paved the way for the youngster. Heliot Ramos And Louis Matos In order to eliminate Slater from playing time at the Giants Stadium, Ramos has stepped up to become a regular in midfield while Matos serves as a right-back from the bench for Yastremski and Conforto.

By acquiring Slater, the Reds will surely be hoping they can bring out some of that left-handed shooting ability he has shown in previous years in order to make him a good partner for the club’s many left-sided midfielders. Slater’s main rival for playing time in that role is expected to be Stewart Fairchildwho has posted a lackluster .224/.298/.347 (81 wRC+) batting average in 189 trips to the plate this year. However, in the near term, both Fairchild and Slater are expected to get plenty of reps along with Will Benson And Spencer Steer In the club’s outfield mix thanks to the absence of Jake Freely, TJ FriedelAnd Nick MartiniFraley is currently on the family’s medical emergency list and is likely to return in a few days, but both Friedel and Martini are on the injured list and face potential extended absences.

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In exchange for parting ways with Slater, the Giants are getting some help from the left-handed relief bullpen in the form of Young. Once a second-round pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2015 draft, the lefty made his major league debut in 2019 and generally struggled at the major league level in a swing-side role with Arizona and Cleveland. That changed in 2022, when San Francisco acquired Young in a cash deal with the Guardians and he began playing shortstop full-time. The lefty pitched very well during his first stint with the Giants, posting a 2.39 ERA and 2.96 FIP in 26 1/3 innings of work before being traded to San Francisco the following November.

Young eventually joined the Reds on a minor league deal prior to the 2023 season and has been with the club ever since. He did well in middle relief with the club last year, posting a 3.86 fielding average despite a lackluster 4.99 FIP. While Young’s 21.2% strikeout rate and 8.5% walk rate were both quite solid, he allowed a whopping 10 home runs in 53 2/3 innings of work with the Reds last year.

Young spent most of the 2024 season at Triple-A for the Reds, though he posted impressive numbers with two scoreless innings at the major league level and in his larger work in the lower division. In 23 appearances with the club’s Louisville affiliate this year, Young posted a stellar 1.19 ERA while striking out 25.3% of the batters he faced. Unfortunately, the lefty hasn’t been able to get much major league playing time with the Reds this year thanks to the club’s deep relief bullpen, which includes both Justin Wilson, Sam MallAnd Brent Sutter As high quality left hand options.

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This made Young a dispensable enough player that the Reds were willing to part ways with him, and it’s easy to see how the lefty could impact a New York Giants relief bullpen that relied heavily on Eric Miller To act as a secondary left assistant behind the high-lift arm. Taylor RogersMiller, a 26-year-old rookie with a 3.51 earned run average and 4.49 strikeout average in 41 innings of work this year, has a more pronounced platoon split than Young has had in recent years, and the wide outfield at Oracle Park should be a great fit for Young, helping to limit his tendency to give up home runs.

San Francisco is also sending cash to Cincinnati in the deal along with Slater, a fact that could impact the club’s final luxury tax calculation later this year. Before the swap, List of resources The Giants reportedly have a luxury tax payroll of just under $254 million, or just over $3 million below the second luxury tax threshold. Slater is making $4 million this year, while Young is making $1.16 million. Depending on the amount of money the Giants include in the deal, the trade could provide the added benefit of giving the club additional financial space below the second luxury tax threshold.

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