Will The Mets Trade Pete Alonso?

Will The Mets Trade Pete Alonso? - MLB Trade Rumors

The Mets head to London for a World Tour series against the Phillies this weekend. Even after sweeping the Nationals, New York owns a 27-35 record that has them above just the Rockies and Marlins in the National League. They’re remarkably only 3.5 games out of the Wild Card race, a testament to the NL’s mediocrity beyond its top four teams. There are six clubs between the Mets and the current final playoff team, the Padres.

If the Mets don’t make significant improvements in the next six-plus weeks, they’ll head into deadline season as a seller. Impending free agents are always the most apparent trade candidates. The Mets have no shortage of rentals they can market. Sean Manaea (who has a $13.5MM player option for next season), J.D. MartinezLuis SeverinoHarrison BaderAdam OttavinoJose Quintana and Jake Diekman could all move. Yet there’s no more interesting Mets’ trade candidate than their first baseman.

Pete Alonso is a few months from his first trip to the open market. He reportedly declined a $158MM extension offer last summer. President of baseball operations David Stearns made clear throughout the offseason that while the Mets had no interest in trading Alonso over the winter, they didn’t anticipate reopening extension negotiations before he hit free agency.

That should spur plenty of trade speculation as the deadline approaches. That’s evidently already happening in front offices outside of Queens. Jeff Passan of ESPN wrote this week that multiple rival general managers expect the Mets to trade Alonso before the deadline. That seems more like informed speculation than a suggestion that his name has come up in trade talks to this point.

Will talks gain legitimate traction in the coming weeks? There’s a straightforward argument for the Mets to move Alonso. They evidently don’t plan on keeping him from testing the free agent market. Alonso will begin his next contract in his age-30 season. When Stearns was running baseball operations in Milwaukee, the Brewers preferred not to invest heavily in defensively-limited sluggers. He obviously has far more resources at his disposal now, but it’s fair to wonder whether Alonso is the type of player around whom Stearns wants to build.

That’s particularly true with a slight downturn in Alonso’s batted ball metrics. He’s still capable of hitting the ball as hard anyone, but he has done so less frequently over the past couple seasons. The Polar Bear’s rate of hard contact (a batted ball with an exit velocity north of 95 MPH) peaked at 47.3% back in 2021. It dropped by a few points in each of the next two seasons. This year’s 40.1% hard contact rate is a match for last season’s. It places Alonso 129th out of 263 qualified hitters.

The dip in hard contact rate hasn’t made Alonso a bad hitter, of course. He’s hitting .238/.315/.477 with 14 homers across 267 plate appearances. After accounting for the pitcher-friendly nature of Citi Field and a depressed league run environment, that’s 27 percentage points better than average. Alonso remains a middle-of-the-order bat, but it’s a slightly concerning trend for a player whose game is built on power.

If the front office has concerns about Alonso’s long-term projection, a trade would be the most sensible decision. The Mets would get very little in return if they let him walk in free agency. They’d make him a qualifying offer, but they’d only receive a pick after the fourth round if he signs elsewhere. As a luxury tax payor, they’re entitled to the lowest compensation for losing a qualified free agent. The trade offers they receive this summer would certainly be better than that, even if Alonso’s limited control window and $20.5MM arbitration salary make it unlikely they’d get any top-tier prospects in return.

For the Mets to keep Alonso, they’d need to believe there’s a realistic path to the postseason in 2024 and/or feel good about their chances of retaining him in free agency. Making the playoffs this year isn’t impossible, but they’ve put themselves in a hole with their poor start. Holding Alonso would probably be more about the latter scenario — a sign they’re confident that he’ll stay in New York after seeing what other teams will offer.

Owner Steve Cohen is capable of outbidding anyone. He’s presumably keen on retaining Alonso, who has proven himself in New York and has been a fan favorite since his electrifying rookie season. Yet the Mets have been relatively restrained in the last two offseasons after their frenzied effort to spend their way into contention in 2021 didn’t quite pan out. (The Mets did win 101 games in 2022, but they followed up a first-round playoff exit with last year’s 75 wins.) The Mets seem to be gearing up for a bidding war with the Yankees and others on Juan Soto, which could take some of the priority away from Alonso.

It’s at least worth considering the possibility that the Mets trade Alonso before trying to bring him back next winter. That’s not unheard of but doesn’t happen often, particularly with players at the top of the market. A deadline trade typically reflects an understanding that the team and player aren’t going to line up on contract figures.

How will the Mets handle the situation? Is Alonso going to be on the move this summer?


Related Posts

Our Privacy policy

https://worldnewsdailyy.com - © 2024 News