Mets’ $162 Million Commitment Might Hint at Plans for 3-Time All-Star

Steve Cohen

Getty New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has hinted that slugger Pete Alonso might test free agency before returning to the team in 2025.

The New York Mets appeared to move toward a win-now roster this offseason, adding pitching veterans Sean Manea and Luis Severino, outfielder Harrison Bader, reliever Jake Diekman and more. They’ve been circling six-time All-Star J.D. Martinez as well.

But their biggest roster commitment is likely ahead, as homegrown slugger Pete Alonso faces unrestricted free agency after the season. Alonso could command a nine-year, $288 million contract, according to Sportrac, and Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman of Yahoo! Sports recently argued that the team’s recent commitments to lesser players should make re-signing Alonso a no-brainer.

“I don’t even think this is a question,” Shusterman said. “I just think that replacing what he is capable of is so hard… To me, it’s as simple as if you are willing to pay that much to keep (Brandon) Nimmo, Pete shouldn’t even be a question.”

Shusterman was referring to the deal the team struck with Nimmo in 2022 for $162 million over eight years. The Mets saw Nimmo hit free agency, rather than extend him beforehand, but were able to reach a deal to bring him back after he tested the waters. 

In an eight-year MLB career, the 30-year-old Nimmo has slashed .270/.380/.447 with 87 career homers. In his five career MLB seasons, the 29-year-old Alonso has slashed .251/.342/.528 with 192 career homers. Alonso is also a three-time All-Star.

“If they want Pete, they’ll pay for Pete,” Mintz added.

The New York Mets Could Be of Two Minds Regarding an Extension for Pete Alonso

The question seems to be, then, whether the team sees Alonso as a player they can build around in the future. There is reason to believe that won’t be the case, based on the mindset of new president of baseball operations David Stearns.

“Rival front offices who have spoken to CBS Sports in recent weeks have expressed skepticism about whether or not new top baseball executive David Stearns would be willing to commit a lucrative, long-term deal to a player with Alonso’s profile — that is, a right-right first baseman nearing his 30th birthday,” R.J. Anderson reported. “Stearns is, of course, more analytically inclined, and that profile is perceived to be more fungible than most.”

Regardless of what his models tell him, Stearns can hypothetically be overruled by owner Steve Cohen. In recent comments, Cohen seemed to hint that Alonso might have a similar path as Nimmo and reliever Edwin Díaz — that is, exploring free agency before ultimately returning to his team.

“We’re always open to conversation, but he’s earned the right to explore his value,” Cohen said during a recent appearance on the “Meet The Apple” podcast. “I’m highly supportive of all players doing that. Just like we ended up figuring it out with Edwin Díaz and Brandon Nimmo, it would be my hope that we do the same with Pete.”

The New York Mets Might Trade Pete Alonso, Even Before Re-Signing Him

Of course, Alonso’s fate could be determined before the end of the season. If the Mets are unable to make on-field progress after a 75-87 2023 record, the team might see Alonso’s greatest value as a trade asset ahead of his free agency.

“I think that’s definitely in play if this team is bad,” Mintz said of a possible midseason Alonso trade. “Because holding on to Pete for the second half of this year if they’re bad — think about what a team would pay to have him in the middle of their lineup, a contender.”

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