Pete Alonso, Brodie Van Wagenen
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Pete Alonso, the 2019 NL Rookie of the Year, is the young man the New York Mets must now officially build around for years to come.

Rich Mancuso

Pete Alonso is the sixth New York Mets player to win a National League Rookie of the Year Award. Wednesday night, Jacob deGrom is favored to win a second consecutive NL Cy Young Award, and that all sounds good for the Mets.

As good as it is, awards are always nice. They can’t be taken away. But every Mets fan wants more: the postseason and eventually hoisting that World Series trophy, as Alonso said Monday night.


“I’m just looking to try and be even better next year, and win more games, get to the playoffs and win a championship,” Alonso said.

Jacob deGrom said it often this past year.

“The awards are nice. In the end, it’s about getting to the playoffs and playing baseball in October,” said deGrom.

Assuming the votes go his way, and they should, a Mets player will be showcased again Wednesday night and will take home another piece of hardware. The hardware, though, is not that coveted World Series or playing baseball and deep into October.

The individual recognition serves as a stepping stone to another season that commenced this week with the GM meetings in Arizona, and in a few weeks, with the annual Winter Meetings in San Diego.

The Mets need to build more around Pete Alonzo.

They must work around the pitching staff of deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman. It is expected that Zack Wheeler will get the money and be elsewhere unless the Mets become creative with him and figure a way to keep this rotation in place.

And from all indications, and as reported by a reliable source, Wheeler and his agent are in discussions with the Houston Astros as one of those potential teams with interest.

These GM meetings in Scottsdale lead to the process of building more for the Mets and it revolves around Alonso. He is the face of this franchise, along with deGrom.

And the mission for Brodie Van Wagenen, in what is expected to be a busy few months, is not the 53 home runs, 120 RBI and records that came from a rookie who was left on the outside looking in when rosters expanded in September of 2018.

Now, Brodie Van Wagenen is in a position to hear the words of Pete Alonso, the new face of the Mets franchise. Alonso wants to carry the hardware and the Mets, with a rookie manager, Carlos Beltran, need to make that happen.

Again, the awards are nice. Van Wagenen, as we learned right out of the gate in his rookie year, showcased creativity when bringing Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets.

The trade, most standards, did not work to the Mets advantage. Blown saves from Diaz, that could have meant the difference as the Mets made a move to October with a turn around in the second half, put an ugly ribbon on the deal. Cano, showing signs of an aging player, suffered through more than one stint on the disabled list.

Perhaps three or more wins will put the Mets in the postseason in an NL East division that has the wild card Washington Nationals as defending World champions. The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are going to be around a long time.

The Mets can be around a long time as well—if they play it the right way, one that revolves around Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeill, J.D. Davis and Amed Rosario in the lineup.

The strength, as one scout said, “Can no longer revolve around that core of pitching.”

So this week, Van Wagenen needs to start that process and help Alonso get that hardware to Citi Field. It starts with the lineup and revamping of the bullpen. It means finding a replacement for Wheeler, assuming he takes a lucrative offer.

Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo could fill that void. Diaz, from all indications, will have his role as the closer.

It means filling some defensive holes in the outfield. It will mean spending some money, though a higher-tier free agent such as Anthony Rendon may be asking the impossible.

Payroll flexibility is something the Mets never seem to have for the right talent. But finishing three games shy of that second NL Wild Card is exactly what the Mets were in 2019. They are close.

The Wilpons need to listen to their franchise player. Brodie heard those words. Pete Alonso wants that hardware.

The 2019 NL Rookie Of The Year deserves to play in October. And the Mets have their player, their guy they can truly build around to get there.

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