One of the first items on the agenda for new Mets President David Stearns will be to fill the manager’s chair, but a close second should be the status of Pete Alonso. The Mets need to get Pete Alonso signed and keep him from playing elsewhere after next season.
At his introductory presser, Stearns said with a smile, “I expect Pete to be our first baseman next year.” Never said anything about 2025 although he did add, “Pete’s an important member of this team. He’s an important member of this organization and I think we’re really fortunate to have him.”
There were reports that Alonso was being dangled in trade talks during the days leading up to the trade deadline, and now comes a report out of Chicago that the Cubs “will push” to trade for Alonso.
According to long time baseball reporter Bruce Levine, “The mumbling out there is the Cubs are going to do everything they can to trade for Pete Alonso from the Mets.” The Cubs will need a first baseman with Cody Bellinger likely to leave as a free agent. The Cubs act like they’re Micheal Corleone moving in on Moe Greene, except the Mets don’t have a deal with Barzini.
Levine is a credible and respected reporter but who knows where this “mumbling” came from, but now people will really make an assumption that Alonso is on the trade block.
Another report from ESPN shows a headline that says, “Alonso ‘wants to come’ to the Cubs,” and they quote one of their reporters who says, “I think that he [Alonso] wants to come here as much as they want him.”
How about, I don’t think he has a desire to join the Cubs. Has this reporter spoken directly to Alonso? That report is based on an opinion, and this is the kind of stuff that will surface during the off season. Until the Mets reveal what their plans are for Alonso, this “click bait” stuff will grow during the winter and they need to answer that soon, unless they’re willing to gamble as the Yankees did with Aaron Judge.
Alonso should not be anywhere else than playing for the home team at Citifield. At least that should be the plan for Stearns, Owner Steve Cohen, GM Billy Eppler and the organization as a whole.
Stearns has not exactly gotten off to a stellar start in his tenure with the way the managerial situation was handled. Stearns said because of a contractual issue, he couldn’t speak to Showalter before he fired him. That wasn’t the way to handle this. Stearns could’ve waited and given Showalter the word on Monday in a more respectful manner. (According to a report, Alonso was pretty upset with the way it was handled, more on that later)
Losing Alonso would really strike a nerve with the fans. Stearns already experienced something like that in Milwaukee in 2022 when he traded closer Josh Hader at the deadline while the Brewers were leading the NL Central but eventually collapsed.
Cohen took care of Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil this past off season. He had a little more time to play with when it came to Alonso but that time has passed by.
Alonso is heading into his final year of arbitration in 2024. According to spotrac.com, Alonso earned $14,500,000 this season so it’s likely he’ll be at $22 million or right around that number unless the Mets negotiate a one year deal to avoid arbitration, with the idea of negotiating a long term deal, or actually coming to terms on a long term deal before the hearing would take place next spring.
The 28-year old would have a good argument in any arbitration hearing.
Over his five year career, Alonso has missed only 24 games. This season, Alonso appeared in 154 games. The only eight games he missed was after he was hit on the wrist by Braves pitcher Charlie Morton in early June. Alonso may have come back too soon (.149, 7 for 47, in the final 12 games in June), but he did return and that says an awful lot about the man and the player.
Alonso averages a little over 37 home runs and just a tick under 100 runs batted in every season. Alonso may never win a gold glove at first base, but his offense more than makes up for being an average defender.
As a homegrown player, Alonso is extremely popular with the fans, is a credit to the uniform and great in the clubhouse.
The outside noise that came from the trade rumors and that ridiculous report that Alonso was toxic in the clubhouse appeared to affect him in September because he cares so much about the team. That passion for the team may have surfaced on Sunday when Alonso learned from Buck Showalter himself, that he was being let go.
On his twitter (it’s not X to me) account, NY Post Mets beat reporter Mike Puma cited a person who was in the room who reported “Pete Alonso took it the hardest” over the news. Puma went on to tweet that “Alonso had to be talked out of going directly to Steve Cohen to voice his displeasure with the decision.”
Those reports that Alonso was being dangled emerged as a result of what Max Scherzer told the Athletic. After Scherzer was dealt to Texas, he told Ken Rosenthal that the Mets were “open to trading players who are set for free agency after the 2024 season.” Alonso fit that requisite, so there was a report that a deal had been discussed with the Brewers.
From what I know, the Brewers invoked Alonso’s name when the two teams were discussing other deals and the Mets responded with something like, “it would take quite a haul to make a deal for Alonso.” Meaning, in no way, shape or form, were the Mets going to trade Alonso, although his camp will likely issue a deadline in the spring for getting a new deal done before the season opener on March 28th.
As far as the managerial position goes, my nysportsday.com colleague Rich Mancuso wrote, “Stearns will get his manager.” At his presser yesterday, Stearns said he wanted to hire a manager who is “Someone who is working side by side with me and the rest of our baseball ops group.”
Was that a veiled shot at Showalter?
There are whispers that Showalter and Eppler did not see eye to eye, particularly when it came to the lineup. Showalter allegedly was pushing to promote D.J. Stewart from the minors because he was a better option than Daniel Vogelbach.
I can’t believe that someone with Showalter’s baseball savvy would continue to keep playing Vogelbach when he really gave you no options and clogged the lineup, without some persuasion from his boss. Stewart got the bulk of the playing time in the final weeks as if Buck was saying, “I told you so.”
Whoever Stearns brings in is not only going to have the pressure that goes along with managing in New York, that person will also have to fill some big shoes.
Despite only a two-year tenure with the Mets, Showalter left quite an impression with the players as evidenced by the way they showed their appreciation for the man before his final game and their comments afterward.