Despite an early playoff exit, the New York Mets took a big step forward in 2022 thanks in large part to a successful offseason. Now comes the task of getting to the next level.
While the front office certainly hit on a lot of the moves that led to 101 regular season wins last year, it will take quite a bit to exceed that level of success in 2023. Many key contributors are now free agents, and that’s before even addressing the deficiencies that contributed to a mediocre September and abrupt downfall in October.
The Mets need to get a lot of things right this winter. And while not everything will work out, there are a few key mistakes they absolutely must avoid.
1) NY Mets mistake: Not extending Pete Alonso
Entering the offseason, most of the questions facing the Mets revolve around players they may or may not retain. The most critical question, however, lies with someone who will be back next season.
It is imperative for the Mets to approach Pete Alonso about a contract extension now. Yes, there are enough holes to fill around him, but that hasn’t stopped rival teams from locking up core players long-term. The Atlanta Braves have done it relentlessly in recent years. The Philadelphia Phillies still have Bryce Harper for nearly another decade.
But with two seasons left before he hits free agency, Alonso’s importance to the Mets and being a part of the team long-term runs much deeper than just on field success. Extending him would be a major step towards recalibrating the image of a franchise that has too often failed to retain its homegrown players.
Frankly, aside from David Wright, the Mets have never really held onto a star of their own for the duration of his career. Tom Seaver was infamously traded. Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden found second chances across town. Even now, the narrative surrounding Jacob deGrom’s free agency evokes an all-too-often feeling of unease for fans of a certain age.
Alonso has quickly proven he can not only handle the bright lights of New York – he can thrive here. He is, in many ways, the identity of the team. Steve Cohen and Billy Eppler must now do what past ownership and front office leads failed to: secure a foundational piece of the franchise for years to come.