Mets: Peter Alonso belongs on the 2019 Opening Day roster
By Tim Boyle
Of all the roster moves the New York Mets must make between now and Opening Day 2019, promoting Peter Alonso to the big league roster is an essential one.
You can only keep a monster back for so long. If the New York Mets want to keep Peter Alonso in the minor leagues at the start of 2019, they’re going to have to reinforce the chains of their very own Kraken.
Alonso’s amazing season in the minor leagues put his name in the vocabulary of every Mets fan from here to Timbuktu. The 23-year-old mashed 36 home runs and drove in 119 while slashing a terrific .285/.395/.579 in Double-A and Triple-A. Even with a rather lengthy slump at the highest minor league level, Alonso managed to finish strong with respectable numbers any professional player could envy.
This brings to Alonso’s future with the Mets. The decision to keep him away from the 40-man roster this September is hard to understand. The most reasonable possibility is that they do not want to lose someone else through the rule five draft. I can accept this.
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What I cannot accept is another plate appearance in a minor league baseball uniform. Sure, Alonso may slump and get demoted. Even more likely, he goes on a rehab assignment at some point in his career. He can’t play in a minor league game next April because of his lack of talent. Clearly, he has a ton of it. Holding him back any longer is a disservice to the fans, the game, and the organization.
The Mets didn’t receive much power this season. Michael Conforto could very well end up as the lone player to pass the 25 home run mark. This is largely a result of injuries, but also what happens when you don’t get consistent hitting from your sluggers. As a team that often lives and dies with the four-base hit, they need home runs. Alonso can provide plenty.
There are holes in Alonso’s game. He’s a poor defender, not quick on his feet, and will probably strike out a ton in his rookie season.
So what? We’re all pretty lame the first few months at our job. A strikeout in baseball is like forgetting a co-worker’s name. We all do it. Eventually, we get better.
The Mets do have an excuse to keep Alonso away from their Opening Day roster. They won’t say it publicly, but the extra year of control is tempting.
As we’ve seen with several other young players in recent seasons, major league teams will stash them in the minor leagues for a few weeks to preventing their big league clock from setting. The Mets, a team not shy about doing shady business in 2018, have made no indication that they would do the right thing and begin the service time as quickly as possible.
If you believe differently, this is the same franchise that claimed David Wright is healthy enough for the minor leagues, but not for the big leagues. I have trust issues with anything this front office says. Can you blame me for not having faith they do the right thing?
I’m more sour on Alonso than most. However, I also acknowledge that until he does get his shot at facing big league pitching regularly, I can’t dismiss his abilities.
Alonso did something this year few men have. Logic dictates he gets the reward of starting next year at the highest level possible.
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Reality suggests he won’t.