Starling Marte progressing, a sign stealing prevention mechanism, and securing a future with Pete Alonso
Starling Marte said he was going to play a lot of right field in 2022
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
The Mets agreed to contract terms with all 23 of their pre-arbitration eligible players on Wednesday (press release)
Mets OF Starling Marte - who maintains he will be ready for Opening Day despite a sore oblique - played right field in a minor league game in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday, and said he would be playing a lot of right field during the season (MLB.com)
James McCann was scratched from the lineup on Tuesday with back tightness
New York City Mayor Eric Adams is set to lift the private sector COVID-19 vaccine mandate for performers today, which will allow Mets and Yankees players to play games in New York by the time the season starts (New York Post)
The Mets are leveraging a league-approved sign stealing prevention system on the field this spring (New York Post)
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Marlins vs. Mets
Where: Clover Park, Port St. Lucie, FL
Starters: TBA for the Mets vs. Pablo López for the Marlins
When: 6:10 PM EST
Where to Watch: SNY
The Mets need to secure a future with Pete Alonso 📝
Pete Alonso experienced his first of four arbitration processes this winter and reportedly agreed to a $7.4 million contract for the 2022 season on Tuesday, his first seven-figure deal after earning just a fraction of that combined between 2019 and 2021.
That’s the merit of not only surviving the first three years of a playing career in the major leagues. Most players who accomplish that get a seven-figure deal at the end of that chapter.
Then there’s Alonso, who has produced 106 home runs (the most since 2019) and 249 RBI (fourth most) in that chapter. He has far exceeded his earnings to-date with his performance alone and adds even more value with both his presence and personality. Certainly, his raise through arbitration could be considered a reflection or a result of all of that.
For Alonso though, his huge raise is merely a result of the process. Yes, most players don’t get huge raises like this through arbitration and that’s certainly a testament to his performance over the past three seasons. But it can be a stressful, tense process for both sides especially if it ends with the salary being determined in an arbitration hearing.
Thankfully, in this case anyway that won’t happen. It’s important both sides remain happy with each other and maintain an eye-to-eye working relationship, especially as Alonso’s salary increases during this arbitration process (and hopefully, his production warrants such increases).
Since the first hurdle is out of the way, the Mets might want to consider creating cost certainty with Alonso with a long-term contract extension before those costs rise through the arbitration system.
Alonso indicated on Wednesday he might be interested in a long-term deal with the Mets as well.
“Eventually, yeah, we’ll see, “Alonso said, according to the New York Post. “I love New York. It’s a special place. I’ve really enjoyed my time playing and for me I think we really, me and my family, have embraced the city. We love it here. But again, we don’t know [what the future holds].”
Aside from his prolific power numbers, Alonso has established himself as a popular star in New York and a player the Mets can build a brand and identity around. He’s been a steady presence with an ability to stay relatively healthy over the course of his first three years as well. And as they saw in his first year of arbitration eligibility, all of this will come at a significant cost using precedents which could quickly escalate their payroll at a time the Mets really need predictability over the next few years.
Plus, the Mets should demonstrate a willingness now to commit to a homegrown star again. Its an opportunity for the club to lay a long-term foundation for a team to build around with a unique and special player. The Mets have been generally unwilling or unable to do that in large measure outside of David Wright and Jacob deGrom (who, by the way, has already said he is opting out of his deal at the end of the season), but they now have an opportunity to make such a commitment again with a likable star in his prime which would be mutually beneficial as well.
Alonso is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2025 after his age-30 season. If he’s interested, perhaps the Mets would structure a deal which would keep him in Flushing through at least 2027, buying out two free agent years with market-competitive escalations when he would’ve otherwise been eligible for free agency.
Perhaps that’s wishful thinking, but Alonso is a keeper with the upside of becoming a New York sports icon, and the Mets should stop at nothing at securing that keeper in the years ahead.
A part of this story was adapted from a post on September 30
Hot Stove 🔥
The Reds are signing OF Tommy Pham (Cincinnati Enquirer)
The Blue Jays have expressed interest in signing OF Brett Gardner (Newsday)
The Pirates and Marlins have continued to discuss a deal for Bucs star Bryan Reynolds (Miami Herald)
The A’s may not trade LHP Sean Manaea or RHP Frankie Montas after all (Heyman)
Speaking of the A’s, they signed C Stephen Vogt to a major league deal (SF Chronicle)