New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso reminded everyone this week why he is one of the premier power hitters in Major League Baseball. The three-time All-Star hit four home runs in the team's series win against the Cub, including two in his 18th multi-homer game on Monday. He now has 35 home runs and 87 RBI for the season, both rank second in the National League.
With many fans’ eyes turned toward the future, a big question will be whether the team gives their first baseman a long-term contract during this upcoming offseason, as he is a free agent at the end of the 2024 campaign. And he’s given the team reasons throughout his five-year career not to lose each other.
Letting Pete Alonso, one of the greatest power hitters the Mets have ever seen, leave in free agency would create a difficult task for their long-term plans.
For years, especially since the decline of David Wright, the Mets have had trouble finding an elite impact right-handed batter. Then came Pete Alonso, who slugged his way onto the Mets’ Opening Day roster in 2019 and went on to set the franchise single season and MLB rookie home run records with 53 that season, and later the team’s single season RBI mark three years later with 131.
Alonso is an elite difference-maker at the dish. He has clubbed 181 home runs (in 636 games) since his debut on Opening Day 2019, which is 18 more than the player with the next highest total in that span, Matt Olson (162), and for a franchise that has generally struggled to keep the best power hitters around long-term, such as Darryl Strawberry, the Mets ought not to repeat history here.
Also, remember how the Mets have the largest single-season payroll in history this year, and probably won’t even finish .500 with it? Well, given that the Mets might not be as active this offseason as the last three, the team is currently committing half of their current payroll in 2025, which gives the Mets no excuse to make a splash on the payroll starting that year, which would be the first year of a potential Alonso extension.
Replacing Pete Alonso is much easier said and done, both in the lineup and on the field for the New York Mets.
The Mets’ top two prospects at this point (catcher Kevin Parada and infielder Luisangel Acuña) are both right-handed hitters, and Parada projects to be an above average power bat as a major leaguer. But we don’t know for sure how he will end up. Maybe the Mets will move Parada to first base since Francisco Alvarez would occupy his catcher spot for the long-term so they could be younger.
If there was something to knack about Alonso’s game throughout his career, it would be his inconsistent level of play on defense at first base. Based on Baseball Savant’s Outs Above Average metric, Alonso was much above average in 2021 (83rd percentile), but ranked among the league’s worst last year (5th percentile). This year, he is in the middle (46th percentile).
However, Alonso’s success at the plate has allowed the Mets to benefit from first base no longer being a revolving door it was during much of the Sandy Alderson era, as they got to spend their dollars elsewhere, such as on guys like Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo, both of whom have been good this season.
You also can’t forget about his leadership, either, which makes him one of the most popular players in team history.