As the 2023 offseason starts to wind down, it’s time to look ahead to contract extensions for the New York Mets. To no one's surprise, number one on the list is Pete Alonso.
The market is unpredictable right now in baseball. Prices are skyrocketing, and Steve Cohen continuing to flex his deep pockets is probably at least part of the reason why. Other teams have to keep up.
The longer the Mets wait to extend Alonso, the price might keep going up. If ownership views him as part of the long-term plans, they should lock him up now.
What would it cost if the Mets were to extend Alonso this off-season?
Alonso has been one of the game’s best sluggers from the moment he entered the league. In his four seasons in the big leagues, Alonso has put up a triple-slash of .261/.349/.535 with 146 home runs, more than anyone else in Major League Baseball.
His 241 extra-base hits rank No. 4 in that span, his .535 slugging percentage ranks No. 8, his .884 OPS ranks No. 14, his 140 OPS+ ranks No. 11 and his 14.2 bWAR ranks No. 25 among position players.
He was the 2019 NL Rookie of the Year, made two All-Star teams and finished top-10 in NL MVP voting twice. Oh, and who could forget his two Home Run Derby titles?
There aren’t many players better in the league better than The Polar Bear.
To make an educated guess at his price point, we’ll look at three big contracts handed out to corner infielders — Chris Davis, Matt Olson and Rafael Devers — and compare them to Alonso.
In the four years leading up to their contracts, here’s how those three players stack up statistically to Alonso.
Statistically, all three players are very similar to Alonso in their own ways.
Davis led MLB in home runs in the four years leading up to his extension, just like Alonso. Olson was in the top 5 in that category, and Devers was top-10. Devers even has the exact same OPS as Alonso.
Olson trails the other three in most categories but leads in bWAR, as he’s the only one in the group who is even average defensively. Even in the ones he trails offensively, it's not too substantial.
It’s obviously not an exact comparison across the board, but the four hitters are more or less in the same ballpark.
Now, take a look at the contracts each player received, and when in their careers they received them in comparison to where Alonso is now.
Age at time of deal
Control years remaining
Length of deal
Yes, mentioning Davis today conjures up images of record-long hitless streaks and absurdly deferred contracts that dwarf Bobby Bonilla. However, it’s easy to forget that he was easily one of the best power hitters in baseball in the years leading up to his deal.
And sure, any contract extension signed by an Atlanta Braves player has to be taken with a grain of salt, because every player wearing that uniform seemingly signs at a hefty discount. However, his extension is much more recent than Davis’, and he and Alonso are statistically comparable.
As for Devers, he’s the only one who isn’t a first baseman, but third base is still the corner infield. He’s not particularly gifted defensively either, and it’s very possible he transitions to first base or DH down the line.
Davis is very comparable statistically to Alonso, but his contract is also a few years away from being a decade old. Player values have grown since then for teams not based in Atlanta.
Olson is hard to use as a comparison because he probably should have gotten at least a few million more per year. Getting less money per year than Davis six years later is … interesting.
As for Devers, he’s in all likelihood the closest comparison to what Alonso is going to get. $331 million over 11 years, for an AAV of just over $30 million. The extension is less than a week old, so it’s as recent as it gets.
Devers is younger by two years which is a boost, but this offseason has also seen plenty of massive deals handed out to players older than Alonso, so who knows how much of a boost it really is. The Mets would also be buying out two years of arbitration compared to the Red Sox buying out one, so that could save the Mets a bit of money too.
Spotrac lists his market value at $10 years, $321 million. That’s fathomable, but I do think it’s a bit on the higher end of the spectrum. $32.1 million per year for a decade is a lot, especially compared to what other similar players received. If that’s the high end of the spectrum, the low end is probably around 9 years, $260 million for an AAV just under $29M per year.
Ultimately, they should meet in the middle.
Prediction: 10 years, $300 million