For Pete's sake: Options to bat behind fifth in the Mets lineup next year

Who could give Pete Alonso the much-needed protection he's missing?

New York Mets v Washington Nationals
New York Mets v Washington Nationals / Rob Carr/GettyImages
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2) Best NY Mets option to bat fifth in free agency: Cody Bellinger

We should start looking at Cody Bellinger as a legitimate option for the Mets this offseason. The Chicago Cubs took a chance on the downfallen former National League MVP and it has paid off in a big way. He’s going to challenge for a 30 home run and 100 RBI season. At the very least, Bellinger should hit over .300 with plenty of other respectable numbers.

The Mets could use Bellinger for a couple of reasons. He never really lost a step on defense and with Brandon Nimmo regressing, the team has a solution. Move Nimmo into left field and let Bellinger take over as the everyday center fielder. You still have Nimmo around to play center field as needed.

But it’s not the defense you go after Bellinger for. At 28, he’s a young potential free agent whose mutual option for the 2024 season looks far too team-friendly for a Scott Boras client to accept. Bellinger is set to make $12.5 million next year if he and the Cubs were to accept the terms of the current contract. This season proved Bellinger has gas left in the tank. It’s an easy call for him to re-enter the free agent pool. Will the Mets come calling?

Bellinger is an especially appealing option for the Mets in the number five spot because of his left-handed bat. It would be the most ideal situation for the ball club although there is one question to ponder about his presence in Queens; would the lineup make a little more sense to have Bellinger batting in front of Alonso with Francisco Lindor in the two-hole?

However you want to order them, Bellinger can provide Alonso with some added protection. He’s the best free agent to do it. What about someone available through a trade?

For those curious, Shohei Ohtani isn’t a fit here because there is no way he’d get buried fifth in the lineup. He’d be a howitzer missile behind Alonso but wouldn’t dare get his first hacks in the second inning ever.