Pete Alonso’s future in Queens has been the subject of speculation ever since the first baseman was at least discussed with other teams prior to the trade deadline. Since Alonso is a free agent after the 2024 season, there is a possibility he isn’t a long-term concern for a Mets team that is taking some degree of step back next year, which makes him perhaps the most intriguing trade candidate available this offseason.
That is, if Alonso is available at all. SNY’s Andy Martino threw some cold water on the idea of a blockbuster trade, reporting that unnamed Mets executives were “surprised and confused” at the public perception that Alonso will be dealt at all. The Mets don’t intend “to actively shop Alonso,” and would only be open to a deal in the event of a huge offer from a rival club.
As Martino notes, much could change between now and the offseason, so this isn’t exactly an absolute declaration that Alonso won’t moved. Of course, it also helps New York’s leverage in trade negotiations to appear as though Alonso isn’t for sale, in order to up the bidding for potential suitors. Given how much league-wide interest there is in Alonso’s services, the Mets probably won’t need “to actively shop” such a top-tier hitter anyway.
It seems likely that Alonso trade rumors will persist in some fashion either until a deal actually happens, or if Alonso signs an extension to remain in New York. For now, Martino writes that the club’s plan is to let Alonso play out the 2024 season and then pursue a new contract, as they did with other recent pending free agents like Edwin Diaz, Brandon Nimmo, and Jacob deGrom. It is a bit of a risky gambit since it assumes the Mets won’t be outbid for Alonso’s services, though the club was able to re-sign both Nimmo and Diaz, with the latter locked up to a new deal just before the free agent market officially opened last November.
All of this could remain theoretical until the Mets hire their new president of baseball operations, who could bring some new ideas and plans into the organization. A new PBO isn’t expected to be hired until after the season, but some key front office personnel are already on the way out. The Mets have parted ways with director of player development Kevin Howard (as per Mike Mayer of Metsmerized), director of pro player evaluation Jeff Lebow (according to reporter Michael Marino), baseball development director Bryan Hayes and performance director Jim Cavallini (as per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo). It is probably safe to assume that the new hires won’t be announced until the new PBO is in place, as the incoming president will want some say in installing their own staff.
Lebow and Hayes had both been with the Mets in various roles for over a decade, while Cavallini had been with the team since 2018 and Howard since 2021. Howard might be best known by casual fans, as he briefly served as the Mets’ interim assistant hitting coach during the 2021 campaign before turning to his player development position after the season.
In other Mets news, Carlos Carrasco has at least temporarily been moved to a relief role. As manager Buck Showalter told reporters (including Abbey Mastracco of the New York Daily News), Carrasco suggested the move himself, as a nod to throwing only 49 pitches over 1 2/3 innings in his last start on August 26. The veteran righty’s last turn in the rotation was skipped, and it isn’t clear when he might start again, as the Mets’ rotation plans will be shuffled due to a pair of off-days this upcoming week.
It’s been a tough year overall for Carrasco, who missed about a month due to elbow inflammation and hasn’t looked right all season, posting a 6.80 ERA over 90 innings. Carrasco will be a free agent this winter and New York already looked into an early parting of the ways by placing him on waivers last week, though since Carrasco cleared waivers, the Mets will remain on the hook for the $2.33MM still owed in salary between now and the end of the season.
Carrasco’s struggles and salary made it quite likely that he wouldn’t be picked up another team, so September now looks to be his final month in a Mets uniform. He could end up making another start or two down the stretch, though with the Mets out of contention, the priority is likely to give innings to younger arms as an audition for 2024. Carrasco’s relief efforts could hint at a new career direction as he approaches his age-37 season, yet since Carrasco was still an effective starter as recently as 2022, he is likely to head into free agency still marketing himself as a rotation arm.