The mere idea of Pete Alonso as a free agent is enough to put the most devoted of Mets fans into a cold sweat. Now that he’s almost certainly testing the market next offseason, it’s a wonder Queens isn’t a tiny spot of drought surrounded by a Tuesday snowstorm.
That’s because team president David Stearns had some less than ideal news on Monday. There will be no long-term extension and the Mets’ star first baseman hitting free agency is “probably the most likely outcome.”
Alonso’s power was on full display again in 2023. He slugged 46 home runs with 118 RBI despite batting a career-low .217. This season, he will play on a one-year, $20.5 million deal. Stearns is well aware of the task ahead and that his team’s best bat will attract plenty of suitors.
“Look, when you have a really talented player, who’s really good, who’s entering his final year of club control, who happens to be represented by Scott Boras, these things generally end up into free agency and we understand that,” he said. “This is an organization that’s dealt with that before with really good players and has ended up in a perfectly fine spot.”
Translation: Pete Alonso might not be a Met next year, but that’s OK for reasons we won’t discuss. In other news, the Brooklyn Bridge is on sale for $20.
However, there’s one very faint possibility in Pete Alonso’s free agency. One that Stearns has probably thought about, but not for long. Maybe just a fleeting one here or there. And yet, it still exists, so let’s ask the question out loud.
What if the New York Yankees aggressively pursue Pete Alonso?
It’s not as unrealistic as it sounds. The Bronx Bombers have a fairly fluid situation at first base now and, potentially, for the future. Anthony Rizzo is back after a concussion made his bat near-irrelevant last year. He’s earning $17 million in 2024 and the Yankees own a mutual option for the same amount next year.
Keep in mind, it seems more likely that the Yankees pass on Alonso and keep Rizzo at this point. He’s captain Aaron Judge’s second-in-command and a fan favorite. The only way the Yankees move on from him is if he isn’t hitting.
And even then, the Yankees may still pass on Alonso. The team has an exciting first base prospect in the lefty-swinging Ben Rice. The former catcher was New York’s No. 21 prospect in 2023 and hit .324 with 20 homers across three levels last season. That’s a solid pace even after missing two months with a bad back.
But it’s like the old, inconvenient saying goes: Prospects are suspect. There’s no guarantee that any top rookie will produce in MLB like they did in the minors.
In which case, if a top player becomes available and a team has the means to acquire him, most do. The Yankees did exactly this when they traded for Juan Soto back in December. Without him, the Yankees probably trot out an Opening Day outfield of Judge, Alex Verdugo, and maybe rookie Everson Pereira.
Pete Alonso is no exception.
We all know how much the fans would love to see Alonso in pinstripes. It isn’t just about thumbing our collective nose at the Mets, fun as it may be for about three seconds. Rather, Pete Alonso is probably the best first baseman in baseball and would boost any team’s lineup.
Just imagine. Hal Steinbrenner throws caution to the wind and lets Brian Cashman offer Pete Alonso a monster contract, which the former Rookie of the Year accepts alongside a freshly re-signed Soto. All of Queens County might observe a day of mourning.
We all know it, ladies and gentlemen. If Cashman decides he wants Pete Alonso and Hal fills enough briefcases with more than enough money, the two could very well get their man. A lineup featuring Judge, Soto, and now Alonso would be regular nightmare fuel for opposing pitchers.
Plus, just think of all the little stuffed Yankee polar bears for the kids!
In the end, however, it’s more likely that Pete Alonso goes the Judge route and re-signs with the only team he’s known as a pro. There’s just no way Mets owner Steve Cohen lets him go, not after losing the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes alongside the Yankees.
The man truly is the Mets’ to lose. If the Yankees were to join the free agency bidding next winter, that outcome suddenly seems more likely.