The Mets’ selloff at the trade deadline signaled both a concession of the 2023 season and potentially more of a turn towards the 2025 campaign, though owner Steve Cohen still expects next year’s Mets to be “very competitive” if not “as star-studded a team as it was” in 2022 and 2023. Beyond just rental players traded, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander were also dealt in a pair of blockbuster moves, leading to a lot of speculation about what other moves the Mets might have in store for players who aren’t under longer-term control.
To this end, Pete Alonso’s future in Queens has now become subject to speculation, and it appears as though the Mets at least tested the waters about also moving the first baseman at the deadline. The New York Post’s Mike Puma writes that Alonso was “dangled” by the Mets, though “it’s unclear how serious the Mets were about trying to trade the first baseman.” It could be that the Mets were just gauging the market, as “they never came close to” an Alonso trade since no team stepped up to meet New York’s “very high” demands for a return.
Naturally the Mets weren’t going to move the slugger without getting a lot back, as Alonso carried a lot of value in a market short on available bats, let alone premium power threats who are controlled through the 2024 season. However, it could be that injury concerns might have quieted the market, as Alonso spent only 10 days on the injured list after suffering a left wrist sprain/bone bruise in early June, but then struggled after his quick return. Getting back to action on June 18, Alonso had only a .549 OPS over the 107 plate appearances following his IL stint.
Alonso has looked a lot more like his usual self over the last few weeks, giving rival teams at least some assurance prior to the deadline that his wrist was recovered. For the season as a whole, Alonso entered today’s action with a .226/.325/.532 slash line and 35 homers over 453 PA, with solid peripheral numbers except for a minuscule .200 BABIP that has held down his batting average.
In short, Alonso would still be a big trade chip for New York to place on the table this winter, if the club did have designs on eventually moving the slugger. Alonso has one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining so he’ll earn a raise on his $14.5MM salary for 2023, and he’ll be 30 years old on Opening Day 2025, following his scheduled trip to free agency during the 2024-25 offseason.
In a poll earlier this week on MLBTR, 51 percent of readers polled felt the Mets should sign Alonso to an extension rather than trade him or wait until the 2024 season to pursue either course. The Mets haven’t been shy about locking up key players during Cohen’s time as owner, though Alonso is just about the only prominent Met who hadn’t yet gotten a new longer-term deal. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Alonso’s status wasn’t or isn’t eventually going to be addressed, especially since Cohen said he wants to “work things out” on an extension, and described Alonso as “an integral part of the Mets.”
The Mets might opt to playing the waiting game on two different fronts with Alonso this winter. If extension talks aren’t getting anywhere, the Mets could pursue a trade more fervently, with any information gathered during their deadline talks acting as perhaps a stepping stone to an eventual deal in a few months’ time. Conversely, the Mets could hold off on long-term contract talks with Alonso until the more normal extension negotiation period of Spring Training, and only take that route after first using the winter to more fully gauge the market in case a suitor meets their asking price.