There are some moves by the New York Mets that make the fan scratch their head and wonder “Why would the team do such a thing?”
Or, as it has seemed lately, most of the moves that the Mets have made illicit that reaction from fans. The premature dealing of Jarred Kelenic, a move that seems destined to bite the Mets in the rear end even more than it has already once Kelenic makes it to the bigs, is quite possibly the largest head scratcher of them all. Kelenic seems like a candidate for rapid ascension through the ranks of the minor leagues, while it is evident that Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz have rapidly declined in their ability to perform.
There is the occasion, once in a blue moon, where the Mets do seem to do the right thing. A great example of this is the contract extension of Jacob deGrom. A Cy Young award winner and now face of the franchise, eventually letting deGrom go would have been an absolute devastation to the franchise. Another smart move made by the Mets was allowing Pete Alonso to immediately earn starts this season, regardless of service time rules. Alonso, along with Jeff McNeil and deGrom, has provided light on a season that has fallen well short of expectations set by the fans and the franchise. Now that this season is nearly down the gutter, the Mets should be looking towards the future, especially building around the core of the three players that were just mentioned.
To be able to do this, the Mets need to be able to have the confidence that they will have that core locked down. They already have deGrom locked down for a little while, leaving Alonso and McNeil left to extend. The attitude when considering extensions for the two should be the sooner they get done, the better. The star of both of the players is quickly rising, and the exposure that the two received at the All-Star Game has only helped to put them into the eyes of more people.
While it might be crazy to think of extending the two so early into their careers, you just need to look at some of the stats of Alonso and McNeil to know that they both have tremendous staying power. Alonso, who is likely on the way to winning NL Rookie of the Year (a feat that deGrom captured back in 2014), has proven himself to be the generational power hitter that the Mets have lacked. All McNeil has done is put himself in conversation for the NL batting title with the knack that he has to place the ball to all parts of the field. It truly is a shame that the bullpen could be so awful at times that it overshadows the efforts that McNeil and Alonso have put into the season, as they are both on track to break single season Mets franchise records.
Knowing that these are players that you would want for the long run, it would make sense to offer them extensions as soon as possible. For those who say it is unrealistic to think that they would want to be extended, just look around the rest of the league to see how team-friendly extensions have become a trend. You don’t have to look very far to see contracts like the four-year, $45 million contract extension Aaron Nola signed with the Phillies after his elite 2018 season. If you’re looking for evidence that position players are signing similar deals, just see the five-year, $25.75 million contract that Jorge Polanco signed with the Minnesota Twins.
Financial stability is extremely appealing to young players who are beginning to establish themselves at the pro level. The Home Run Derby was an immense victory for Alonso not only because he proved his raw power that he brings to the table, but also because he essentially doubled his earnings that he would have earned just on his contract this season.
McNeil and Alonso have shown the Mets organization, and their fans, that they could be franchise players for many seasons to come with their complimentary offensive abilities at the plate. When the season ends, the Mets then need to do their part and show some confidence in two players that could become cornerstones for the franchise.