The New York Mets are suffering through a miserable 2023 season that almost no one saw coming. As they look ahead to 2024, it seems their first priority is to get contract talks with star first baseman Pete Alonso on track.
Rumors started circulating early Wednesday that Alonso and his representation were seeking a long-term deal from the Mets. Decade-long term, in fact. But the team's GM Billy Eppler was quick to shut down those reports.
“While we understand the media and public interest in player contract situations, we strongly believe in keeping those conversations private. Any circulating reports do not accurately reflect our conversations with Pete,” Eppler's statement read, per Newsday's Tim Healey.
Alonso and the Mets are rumored to be far apart on the length of the deal. But the fact that they seem to be in agreement on financial terms will be welcome news to fans. A fan favorite since making the team out of spring training in 2019, things have taken a bit of an odd turn between Polar Bear and the Amazins.
Although he wasn't actively shopped at the trade deadline this season, the Mets listened to trade offers for their homegrown slugger. According to some reports, talks got far down the line with the Milwaukee Brewers. Other teams inquired about Alonso's availability as well.
Alonso has been a consistent performer throughout his career. Since his 2019 rookie season, no player in MLB has more home runs or RBI than Alonso. Putting aside the 2020 COVID-19 shortened season, Alonso has never failed to post 35+ HRs and 90+ RBI over a season.
However, Alonso will be 29 years of age by the time the 2024 season rolls around. Therefore, a 10-year contract would take him to the age of 39. It's likely that analytically-inclined members of Eppler's staff are wary about that kind of a commitment. Especially for a player who is limited to first base or DHing duties.
Another interesting wrinkle to this story involves Eppler's soon-to-be new boss. Former Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns is widely expected to join the Mets in that role once his contract with Milwaukee runs out in October.
It's expected that Eppler will remain in his GM role under Stearns. But there is no doubt that the new boss will have input on whatever decision regarding Alonso's contract is made.