Reds trade veteran reliever to SF Giants in attempt to spark their sputtering offense

The Reds new outfielder will likely fill a very specific role for manager David Bell.

San Francisco Giants outfielder Austin Slater
San Francisco Giants outfielder Austin Slater / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants swung an early-morning deal on Monday that will bring outfielder Austin Slater to the Queen City in exchange for left-handed reliever Alex Young.

Slater had spent his entire professional career with the Giants organization, and while he's enduring a down-year, will help bring a veteran presence and depth to a Reds' outfield that is in desperate need of enhanced depth with both TJ Friedl and Nick Martini on the IL.

Cincinnati will ship Young to the Bay Area where he pitched in 2022. Young had been up with the big league club earlier this season, but had been down at Triple-A since early-June. In three appearances out of the Reds bullpen this season, Young posted a 1.17 FIP with two strikeouts in two innings of work.

Reds trade Alex Young to SF Giants in exchange for OF Austin Slater

Adding Slater isn't going to move the needle very much. The 31-year-old is having a down year (.202/.333/.247) and will be a free agent after this season. However, Slater has a good track record against left-handed pitching and will be relied upon to fill the role the Nick Senzel occupied last season, and the one that Blake Dunn has failed to fit into during his rookie campaign.

Though hitting just .174/.306/.174 against southpaws this season, Slater has crushed lefties throughout his career to the tune of .275/.367/.437 with 24 home runs and 98 RBI. Slater can also play all three outfield spots and ranks just outside the top 25% in sprint speed. Slater has good knowledge of strike zone, and has a walk rate of nearly of 15%.

Reds manager David Bell is likely to platoon Slater alongside left-handed outfielders Will Benson and Jake Fraley (when he returns). Though the Reds have yet to make a corresponding move, one of Livan Soto or Edwin Ríos is likely to be optioned back to Triple-A prior to Monday's game against the Colorado Rockies.

No, this ins't a blockbuster trade, nor is Slater the right-handed hitting slugging that Reds fans have been clamoring for. But adding Slater does fill a need and the cost of doing business with the Giants was quite low. This could be a precursor for more moves to come, or it might be the Reds' version of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

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