The case for Pete Alonso as the Mets DH in 2022

Pete Alonso swings at a pitch against the Miami Marlins.
Pete Alonso swings at a pitch against the Miami Marlins. / Mike Stobe/GettyImages
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Dominic Smith
Dominic Smith would be first in line to be the primary first baseman if Alonso becomes the designated hitter. But should the Mets do that? / G Fiume/GettyImages

Now that the pros of inserting Alonso as the primary designated hitter have been exhausted, it is time to examine the cons against doing the move.

Alonso is going to be a central part of the Mets offense for years to come. Given his importance to the Mets lineup and how much the fans revere the first baseman, it is expected that the team would do what they can to keep him happy and keep him around. An easy way for a team to anger a player is to ignore their wishes. Alonso himself said that he does not see himself as a designated hitter, and that he has put a lot of work in to better himself defensively. Back in 2019, he committed 12 errors, which was the third-worst mark for starting first baseman in the National League. However, in the past two seasons, Alonso has shown increased range at the position and has provided a better glove. Being that he is still young, the Mets may want to consider the possibility that Alonso may become a fine defensive first baseman in time, and that moving him to permanent designated hitter duty would be pulling the plug on Alonso’s development too soon.

Moving Alonso to designated hitter could also result in Dominic Smith becoming the primary first baseman, and it is debatable whether Smith should be a full-time player. He regressed in 2021, only hitting 11 home runs. While it is possible that Smith regains his power stroke this year, another issue with Smith is that he has dramatic splits against left and right-handed pitchers, which suggest he is only good against certain types of pitchers. Against left-handed pitchers, Smith batted .312. Against right-handed pitchers, Smith compiled a .218 batting average, although he did hit more home runs against righties.

Pete Alonso becoming the designated hitter moves Dominic Smith back to his original position, but should he be the primary first baseman given his struggles against right-handed pitching?

The question, then, becomes whether Smith should have the right to be the primary first baseman, or whether a platoon arrangement would have to be implemented. Given the importance of the position, I suspect the Mets would prefer to have a steady, consistent player at first base, and Alonso, to this point, has been more consistent in the field and at the plate.