“Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” While variations of this quote can be attributed to many philosophers through the ages, we all know of its one true origin. This is what every History teacher said to you on the first day of class. It was as predictable as having to write an essay on what you did on your summer vacation. This phrase can also be true for the New York Mets.
Jacob deGrom said all the right things. He was a model teammate, a leader in the clubhouse, and an upstanding citizen in the community. When he got the chance to opt out of his Mets contract and sign elsewhere, he was gone faster than a New York minute. He didn't even offer the Mets to match.
You could say all of the same good things about Pete Alonso. He'll be a free agent after the 2024 season and the Mets are at risk losing him, too. Baseball is a business and no player is going to stay with a team just because he's your favorite player or you wear his jersey. Other teams have already figured this out. Let’s look at an example.
The Mets could follow the example of another MLB team
Last year Freddy Freemen left the Braves as a free agent. Afterwards, the team decided that in order to avoid losing future talent they would try to lock up young players earlier in their careers with more affordable contracts.
They went on to sign Ronald Acuna, a 24-year-old three-time All-Star, through 2026, with club options for two more seasons. Next they signed Ozzie Albies, a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner who has club options through 2027. Matt Olson signed an eight-year deal in March after arriving in a trade from Oakland. Rookie phenom Michael Harris II was signed for eight years and third baseman Austin Riley signed a deal that could keep him there until 2033. Finally, rookie pitcher Spencer Strider was signed to a six-year contract.
I’m not saying this is the only way to do it, but merely that it can be done this way. But, there are always things that can get in the way.
Outside influences also effect player signings with the Mets
When Jacob deGrom said that he wanted to be a Met for life I’m sure he meant it. However, things change over the course of time. Personal situations evolve for both the player and for those who may be involved in his decision making process.
Historically speaking, a young Nolan Ryan wasn’t in love with life in New York. Hailing from the little town of Alvin, Texas as he did, it must have been quite a culture change. However, his wife Ruth hated living in New York and wanted them out. As we all know, the Mets eventually had to trade Nolan Ryan.
Several years later, Tom Seaver was negotiating with Mets for a new contract. Just when it appeared that both sides were coming an agreement, New York Daily News columnist Dick Young (a supporter of Mets GM M. Donald Grant) published a scathing story stating that Seaver's price had only gone up because his wife Nancy was jealous of her friend Ruth Ryan and her husband Nolan's new lucrative contract with the Angels. Seaver was furious. He refused to allow his wife to be treated this way and demanded to be traded. The rest is Mets history.
I am not saying that Jacob deGrom’s wife had anything to do with his leaving New York, but only that this is an example of unforeseen circumstances that can affect a player’s decision making process.
Mets players and free agency
As a fan I am happy to see that Brandon Nimmo will be returning to the Mets. The value of a new contract for Nimmo was thought to have been in the neighborhood of 4 or 5 years at between $80 and $100 million dollars. The Mets let him become a free agent and the bidding began. The free agent market drove up his value to 8 years and $162 million. Had the Mets given Nimmo an extension only a year earlier, their savings would have been substantial.
Even if Pete Alonso chooses to stay with the Mets, waiting until he reaches the open market will only drive up his price. SPOTRAC estimates that a contract for Pete Alonso as a free agent after the 2024 season would be in the neighborhood of 10 years at $321,857,370 million, an average salary of $32,185,737 million per season.
If all else fails, a Mets final Option
The final thought on the matter would be if you realize that you can’t resign a player, trade him now while you can still get something in return much like the Nationals did last year with Juan Soto. As far as I’m concerned, those days are over for the Mets. This is the Steve Cohen era and I believe that he won’t let that happen. (I'm looking at you, Fred Wilpon)
Learn from Jacob deGrom. Extend Pete Alonso now or risk losing him. He is the face of the franchise. Alonso is as important to the Mets as was David Wright. He could even be the next team captain. Pete is that kind of guy. Remember, those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.