There continues to be a debate over whether 29-year-old Pete Alonso should remain a member of the Mets, especially with his less than stellar start to the 2024 season.  While he has ramped up his hitting game this last week, including a bunch of long balls that left him one HR off the MLB lead in that category, there are those who are afraid of a long-term contract because of what he might look like three or four years down the road. We might all be in agreement that long-term contracts have by and large been unsuccessful primarily because those contracts are nearly impossible to move in the later years without absorbing a significant part of the salary. Just look at Scherzer and Verlander as two examples of pitchers that would still be on the mound at Citi Field if not for some other team paying part of the price.

As of the 15 games played through Sunday April 14, Alonso had upped his batting average to .271 and his OPS to .951.  Not thrilled with 15 Ks in 59 at bats because it puts him on target to essentially replicate his total of 151 strikeouts from last season. Most sluggers strike out a lot, but putting the ball in play more often clearly creates a lot more scoring opportunities.  The nay-sayers also seem to overlook his strong play at first base where he regularly scoops up crappy throws from other infielders that have saved countless runs.

It seems that whatever Alonso does is still not enough for some short-sighted fans on social media to want to sign him to a new contract.  Even our Mets360 team is divided on resigning him. No team wants to be paying for a player when they are in their decline, but that has become a reality in baseball.  Perhaps the other major sports have the right idea when they don’t guarantee all of a long-term contract.

There are those who think it will require $35 million per year for 6-8 years in order to get Alonso to remain with the Mets. If I were Scott Boras, I’d come back to earth a bit as nearly all of his clients had to do in order to ink a contract this year.  They Mets already agreed to $20.5 million with Alonso to avoid arbitration and we know that Juan Soto got $31 million to do the same.  Soto, who is 25 and plays a more demanding outfield position, will get huge money next year, and at his age will likely sign a deal for 10 years. That way he gets to do it again at age 35.   At 29, Alonso is in a different position.

Here is my offer for Alonso:  Seven years at $30 million per, with opt outs in years two, four and six.  This is a lot of money and a fair contract for both sides.  If he is very successful, he could try to test the free agent market sooner than later.  We would expect a decline by the time he is 34 or four years into the new deal, but what would a decline look like?  Perhaps 25 HR with 85-90 RBI?  Who would not want a player like that on their team?  $30 million per year also places him on top of all first basemen in baseball.

Freddie Freeman of the LA Dodgers is hitting .299 with an OPS of .803. He’s 34 and makes $27 million.  Can anyone honestly say that Alonso is better than him?

Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies is hitting .190 with an OPS of .673. First base is a fairly new full-time position for him and while he’s not off to a great start, he has a career batting average of .280 and an OPS of .910. He is 31 and makes $25.3 million.  Can anyone honestly say that you would take Alonso over Harper?

Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals pulls in $26 million a season and is off to a horrendous start with a .193 batting average and an OPS of .538.  Last year he batted .268 with an OPS of .810 to go along with 25 HR.  His career batting average is .292 to go along with a .905 OPS and it was only two years ago, at age 34, that he won the NL MVP with a .317 average, .981 OPS, 35 HR and 115 RBI.  Yes, he has been on the wrong side of 30 for quite a while and while it is likely he will get it going sooner than later, it is fair to look at his play at age 36 and think that it is a glimpse of what Alonso might look like in seven years.

Matt Olson of the Atlanta Braves is off to a good start batting .293 with an OPS of .973. At age 30, off a monster year in 2023 where he hit 54 home runs with 139 RBI and an OPS of .993, he was signed to a team friendly eight year deal that pays him $22 million this year.  Would you take Olson over Alonso? Maybe. What Olson got with his contract was several lifetimes of financial security. You could make an argument that Olson is a better player than Alonso but I’d have no issue sticking with who the Mets have.

A salary of $30 million would make Alonso the highest paid first baseman of all time, and even adjusting for inflation since these other players signed their deals, it is a boat load of money. The story line from Mets ownership is “let’s let the year progress and if Alonso has a good year, it will be good for him and the team.” They refer back to Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo as two players who entered free agency after strong years that were signed to long-term deals.

if Alonso has a monster season, or for that matter, just an average season, he would be crazy not to test free agency and see what he could get. Barring a miracle season that brings a championship to Queens, if I were Alonso, I’d move on to a team that is already championship caliber or maybe just a player or two away. In my opinion, they missed the boat not trading him before the season started so that they could snag a combination of high level prospects and some MLB ready talent.  Now the only thing they are likely guaranteed is to snag is a draft pick from making an off season face saving qualifying offer. Think back to the thousands of draft picks and prospects that never make it to the big show, and contrast that with retaining a home run champ with a good glove at first base.

I have been on the sign Alonso bandwagon for the last few years and that is still where I am. Many Mets360 contributors are on both sides of the sign-Alonso debate. Where do you all stand now and why?

23 comments on “Do the Mets sign Alonso long-term now or let him walk?

  • Footballhead

    Thank you Mr Shrager for the well thought article on a Mets360 hot button topic. Yes and no regarding keeping Alonso as a Met, isn’t it? We love our polar bear, but we cherish our Mets more. Would love to see both sides be smart about this issue, and perhaps they will be and we get to see Pete in orange and blue beyond 2024.

  • Edwin e Pena

    Good article with comparative players and their salaries. Keep Polar Bear for $200M over 7 years and let it be. That is somewhere it needs to be and everyone should be happy. Pete will continue to put up monster numbers for at least five years, finish up top Met HR leader ever and still be a productive DH, at minimum, his last couple of years on this deal. Home grown player, good guy, and well liked. He needs to stay and is easily affordable by Mets owner.

  • Boomboom

    The reigning NL player of the week is off to a less than stellar start?

    Steve Cohen is going to sign Alonso after Alonso finds out what his market is. And that will be great for the Mets and great for the fans.

    I would have understood trading Alonso for pitching this past off-season but I’m in favor of the long term deal and your contract offer feels abt right.

  • T.J.

    After the Lindor deal, which Lindor got the better of, the owner’s play is to see how the market prices these guys and then decide. I’m fine with that. My gut tells me 60/40 he is resigned, but that is a long way off. Like Footballhead, I’m a Pete fan but the team comes first. Any deal is a long way off and lots can happen on multiple fronts. I’ll stay on the fence for now. Nice write up Mr. S.

  • TexasGusCC

    Steve, I don’t understand your reasoning. Why are you giving him $30MM per year if he isn’t as good as those other players? Why do you want to keep him if you said that they missed the boat on trading him? Then, as actions speak louder than I❤️NY shirts do at a Knicks game, why are you changing to Scott Boras if you don’t want to play the field?

    The Mets could have traded him, but how much is the return? Prospects’ value has gone up as cheap and good return, so teams aren’t as ready to offload. In fact, after hitting .217 last year, there would have been trepidation at giving up a big package.

    But, just as the Mets held on to a Beltran with bad knees until the trade deadline and then got Wheeler for him, that’s what could happen with Alonso. These prospects may be in Class A, but a product that is shiny is more appealing.

    My take on Alonso is he is trying to use the Mets, and the Mets caught on, and moving to Boras was a tip-off. Alonso wants a smaller stadium (Wrigley) and mucho dinero. If the Mets blow everyone else out of the water, say 7/$210, maybe. But as I wrote last week, Sportrac has Alonso’s value at 10/$322. The Mets have the advantage of having opened contract negotiations early last year and knowing what Alonso wants.

  • Steve_S.

    I think you’re in the ballpark on years and salary, but why all the opt outs? For that $$$, I don’t see why there should be any.

    • TexasGusCC

      That’s not my suggestion, it’s a website’s. I disagree with that and I’m sure if Cohen wanted to give him $322MM, he’d be signed by now. If you agree with that, then that’s telling. You may be the only one from whom I’ve mentioned this to.

      • Steve_S.

        Huh? I’m OK with 7 years at $30 million/year ($210 million total), with no opt outs. I’m not OK with $322 million for 10 years! My comment was for Steve Shrager, not on your post.

  • NYM6986

    Great discussion everyone. When I was first writing it I realized that this is really more than off-season column because it really doesn’t discuss how the team is doing right now. I felt strongly that there is an opportunity to resign Alonso and put all of this discussion behind us. When I first started writing it, Alonso was off to a poor start and certainly made up for it with that big week. I added the opt out because I believe that it would be an incentive for Alonso to resign and if he was doing really well and he could walk away and test the free agent market. I can’t imagine anyone walking away from $30 million just for the chance to get a few million dollars more per. And after thinking about the opt outs and their value, it would make sense to decrease the annual salary by a couple million dollars a year to be fair to the Mets.
    The one contract that jumps out contrasting what I wrote about Alonso was that given to Matt Olsen, but maybe the answer to that it is well, well worth it to take less money, get the security, and be on a team that contends for the World Series year in a year out. Watch Alonso do that at seasons end. Lastly, as a pertains to Lindor’s huge contract, in a few years $34 million a year won’t seem like that much. and when you consider that he plays shortstop and does a fine job holding this infield together, it was an investment to show the world that the Mets are serious as a team.

  • ChrisF

    Ive been a sign Pete guy forever. Still am. He will own every single hitting record for the team should he stay. Hes the best HR hitter of the last 5 years. He stays on the field (unlike a Giancarlo Stanton). He’s a natural born Met. I think its easy to keep him. Am I worried about the last several years fo a 7 yr deal? Sure, who isnt. But this is the way contracts are made. Pete has been successful in NY and in Queens specifically. His defense gets knocked but the thing he’s great at is scooping wayward throws, which our left side is infamous for.

    All that said, this ig going to the off season. I diont see any way this gets resolved or even seriously discussed mid-season.

  • Dan Capwell

    First, let the market decide! I’d give Pete the QO and let him test the waters, knowing that the Mets can never be out-bid. If some dumbass team like the Angels decides to go overboard with an offer, there isn’t much they can do about it.

    I think a lot of it comes down to Pete. If the Mets do indeed turn the corner this year—i.e. make the playoffs but not the WS, I think it would be easier to sell him on a bright future that he could be a part of in Queens. If they fall back and finish below .500, he may decide that the grass is greener elsewhere.

    Not sure who is main suitors would be. LAD, ATL and PHI all seem set at 1B/DH. SD is at or near the max of their payroll constraints. The Yanks could get involved, I guess. SFG maybe, but that is a horrible park to hit in. Milwaukee and the Os don’t have the dough. That kinda leaves the Red Sox, the Cubs, Texas, and maybe Arizona, along with the Giants as possible landing spots–if going to a contender is Pete’s main goal.

    • TexasGusCC

      I think Alonso is very proud of his defense and if a team cannot guarantee him a spot defensively, he would pass. Alonso is very adamant about not wanting to be a DH

  • Metsense

    Cohen says he wants Alsono. Alsono wants be a Met. Any extension doesn’t figure into the competitive balance tax until the new deal begins. Offer him 6/$168m. It would be a generous offer . Except for Soto, no other free agent will get $28m AAV this year. At $28m AAV, Alsono would be the highest salaried first baseman. The Mets should sign him now.
    If he doesn’t accept it then evaluate the team’s standing at the trading deadline. If they have a chance then keep them for the whole season. If they don’t have a chance then make the best deal that they can make.

    • Metstabolism

      ..and let’s keep in mind that if they trade Alonso, they can always re-visit things again after the season. That might be the best win-win for both sides: the Mets get a prospect haul and get Alonso back later. For Alonso, being traded at midseason means he cannot be slapped with the QO at the end of the year that could hamper/limit his free agent market.

      Note: Well, no other hitter will get $28M AAV. Ace pitchers are getting $30 – $35M these days, and Corbin Burnes is on the market.

  • Paulc

    If he’ll take 7/30, then sign him. The Mets have no internal option to replace his power at 1B. Plus it would be great to make a home-grown fan favorite a Met for life. Playing for one team is rare now and has been more scarce for the Mets as a franchise. Among good players (not Ed Kranepool !), only David Wright comes to mind as a Met lifer and his career ended early due to stenosis.

  • Mike W

    Pete is fun to watch. I like him. But what is in the best long term interest of the team? The number .217 sticks in my mind. I dont like like long term deals for guys over 30.

    I have a feeling that for the draw that the Cubs will overpay for him. If the Mets really believe that he will go elsewhere because some team will outbid the Mets by a good sum of money, then they should trade him at the break for a haul.

    With Jett Williams, Drew Gilbert and Acuna on the horizon, they will need to find a place for the youngsters to play. Maybe Gilbert can start playing first base in the minors.

    So, it is a simple quiz. Do you want Alonso, or what a trade of Alonso would bring plus Juan Soto to anchor your lineup, who do you choose?

    Atlanta let fan favorite Freddy Freeman walk. Ill take Soto as a long term investment any day of the week.

    • Metstabolism

      I agree in principle that signing Alonso long term carries risk, and agree that getting some kind of prospect haul for him is a smart approach. That said, let’s not overstate the readiness or futures of those prospects. Its possible that any or all of them is still more that 2 years away from becoming a legitimate major league starting player.
      And Gilbert to 1st base should be a non-starter. He’s said to play excellent defense in the corners, has a great arm, and is not expected to have the HR power that would play at 1B.
      Vientos would get a shot at it, perhaps coupled with an adequate yet run-of-the-mill 1B from the free agent market.

  • Brian Joura

    What the Mets decide to do with Alonso will be telling on at least two fronts.

    My opinion is that the Mets’ offseason under Stearns was an effort to get under the draft-pick penalty in 2025 and all luxury tax thresholds in 2026. If they sign Alonso to a deal with an AAV of $30 million, that makes my assumed 2025 goal difficult.

    Furthermore, if they give him a 7-year deal, that means they are more than willing to carry dead weight at the end of his deal. The overwhelming majority of players are better in their 20s than they are in their 30s. And a 7-year deal for Alonso would cover his age-30 to age-36 seasons. The Mets are already on the hook for the decline years of Lindor and Nimmo. Do they want to add Alonso to that list?

    To me, the Alonso question is the ultimate heart/head question. And it may also turn out to be a referendum on how much Cohen is involved in things. My opinion is that if he was empowered with the decision that Stearns would not sign a 7/$210 deal with Alonso.

    • Metstabolism

      I was the first one I know of to present that take, and it met with resistance, or at least question just about everywhere I mentioned it. My view has evolved slightly sine then. I believe Stearns wants to be in position to be able to stay under the cap, but may not necessarily be dead set on it.
      Stearns did an interview on SNY that was not covered by the rest of the press discussing the objectives of this past offseason, contrasting the pursuit of Ohtani and Yamamoto with the limited spending that ensued. He said he pursued them hard because those were transformational players who can elevate the team to an entire other level. Had the Mets gotten those two, they would have likely spent more on more big names to put a more complete team around them. But without them, it is not worth investing in long-term contracts until we know that this team can be sustainably competitive before those contracts run out.
      Based on that, I could see Stearns taking a similar approach this year:
      1 – Trade all expiring contracts – including Alonso – at the deadline, and even add Marte to that if he has any value. Depending on which payroll estimate you believe, That could put the Mets somewhere between $65 and $85 million below the regular CBT, plus another $20M below the draft pick penaltes. Dealing Marte adds another $20 mil to those numbers and could potentially give them as much as $125 million in wiggle room.
      2 – Pursue Soto and Burnes hard. Signing them likely costs $80M or so, and chews up most or all of that margin. And the Mets would still have 12 players from the current active roster to replace. So at that point….
      3 – Forget the penalties. Bring back Alonso, pursue Fried or Buehler and keep building from there. This buys a few seasons to continue building the minors. From that point, Stearns will also have to exercise some savvy in trading off veteran players a year before they go bad in order to reduce payroll and add prospects.

      • Metstabolism

        That hypothetical lineup would then have Nimmo, McNeil, Lindor, Alonso, Soto, Alvarez, Baty, a DH (Vientos is out of options), and they would need to acquire a good CF. Or Soto could DH and they could add 2 OFs.
        Rotation: Burnes, Fried, Senga, Butto (out of options), plus any of a number of possibilities internally, or an inexpensive free agent.
        McNeil and Senga could be potential trade chips after the 2025 or 2026 if there is a need or they become surplus. Nimmo could be a year or two behind them.

      • Brian Joura

        That’s a pretty bold claim. Do you have receipts? When was the first time you wrote about getting under draft pick compensation online, here or elsewhere?

        • Metstabolism

          I’m not sure what bold about it. I said, “that I know of”. There are conversations on MetmerizedOnline going back to at least January.
          (I believe that precedes my arrival here, so if it was talked about earlier on this site, I was not aware).

          • Brian Joura

            I value your contributions here and I hope you continue to comment.

            At the same time, if you brag on something – and that’s the way I interpreted the first 12 words of your post – you should be sure of what you say and not have to rely on subsequent disclaimers.

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