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The Polarizing Case of Pete Alonso Contract Status

Pete Alonso Contract Status – As the Mets congregate in Port St. Lucie for spring training, a key question looms large over the franchise – should they extend slugging first baseman Pete Alonso before he hits free agency next offseason? This pivotal decision has not only drawn attention from fans and analysts but has also become a topic of speculation on top betting websites, where odds and predictions about Alonso’s future with the Mets are being closely monitored.

Alonso is coming off a 2022 season that saw him bash 46 home runs while driving in 118 runs, despite hitting a career-worst .217. While the power numbers are impressive as always for the 29-year-old, there are concerns about the trajectory of his overall offensive profile. As team president David Stearns said recently, it seems likely Alonso will test the open market.

There are compelling cases to be made both for and against New York locking up the fan-favorite long term. Here is a breakdown of the reasons this is such a polarizing decision:

Arguments for Extending Alonso

Pete Alonso Contract Status – Replacing His Power is Nearly Impossible

Even among the most fearsome sluggers of this homer-happy era of baseball, Alonso stands out for his awesome raw power. His five seasons in the majors have seen him average 45 home runs per 162 games played, peaking with 53 big flies in 2019 as he took home NL Rookie of the Year honors.

That kind of consistent 40+ homer pop is incredibly uncommon and difficult to replace. Alonso may not offer much defensive value or contact ability, but it cannot be overstated how huge an asset his lightning in a bottle power is in a Mets lineup looking to support its elite pitching staff. With money less of a concern for New York under owner Steve Cohen, retaining a legitimate middle-of-the-order thumper through his early 30’s is likely well worth a hefty investment.

Alonso is Rapidly Closing on Franchise History

Not only has Alonso terrorized opposing pitchers since his debut, he has also embedded himself deeply into the fabric of the Mets franchise. He is arguably the most popular player in Queens since David Wright, whose franchise home run record of 252 Alonso could conceivably break within two seasons.

Sitting at 192 career long balls in orange and blue, Alonso has a real chance of passing Darryl Strawberry‘s mark of 252 as the Mets’ all-time leader by the midpoint of 2025. He would be achieving such an iconic feat right in the heart of his prime years. Even for a wealthy team like the Mets, there is immense marketing value in retaining a homegrown, fan-favorite slugger that could end up as the best power hitter the team has ever seen.

The Price Could Skyrocket After a Big 2024

As much as 2022 represented a down year for Alonso outside of the home runs, he clearly demonstrated with a .893 OPS and 16 homers in the first half that when healthy, he remains an offensive centerpiece pitchers dread facing. If Alonso puts together an MVP-caliber walk year in his last season before free agency and stays healthy from start to finish, his future asking price could explode beyond what the Mets would prefer to pay right now.

The nightmare scenario would be Alonso replicating Aaron Judge’s historic 2022 campaign, complete with 62 home runs and a batting title. Were Alonso to submit an all-time great platform season on the brink of the open market, suitors would be lining up to offer $35+ million a year and six or more guaranteed seasons. Extending their slugger this spring would allow the Mets to avoid the risk of an astronomical rise in Alonso’s price.

Arguments Against Extending Alonso

Alonso’s Profile Indicates Volatility Ahead

As electric as Alonso’s power is currently, he does fit a profile that has not tended to age gracefully. Right-handed hitting, right-handed throwing first basemen who don’t contribute much value on the basepaths or defensively have largely struggled to remain high-level producers into their 30’s throughout MLB history.

The risk of Alonso’s offensive game declining rapidly amidst the typical physical prime ages of 27-32 is real. Outside of a select few like Paul Konerko and Jose Abreu, most players similar to Alonso have fizzled out as elite run producers by 33 or 34 years old at the latest. Handing him a deal that extends into his mid-to-late 30’s could saddle the Mets with a massive underperforming contract by 2027 or 2028.

First Base Market Often Deflates Big Asking Prices

Recent first base free agent markets have not at all been kind to even All-Star level veterans. Last year, Freddie Freeman took over $30 million less than expected in total contract value because the market simply was not willing to bid as aggressively on a first base-only player. Other stars like Anthony Rizzo and José Abreu had to settle for short-term deals below their open market expectations.

Trade Value May Exceed Draft Pick Compensation

Finally, if the Mets firmly decide by midseason 2024 that they have no intention of re-signing Alonso, they could exploit his expiring contract to help supplement their stacked farm system even further via trade. Alonso would undoubtedly draw major prospect capital back in a deadline deal.

Given their expected competitive balance tax paying status in 2024, the Mets would only receive a compensation pick after the fourth round if Alonso left in free agency next winter. Flipping him at peak value this coming summer could thus net a far more valuable return than the potential draft pick they would otherwise gain. This move, while not popular, aligns with savvy MLB betting predictions, suggesting that trading Alonso could be New York’s smartest long-term play if they don’t see him as a long-term piece by the summer.