Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Is Pete Alonso toxic? ‘Ridiculous.’ But Mets, Polar Bear in need of cold compromise

“Mets staffers familiar with Cohen’s thinking don’t expect negotiations with Alonso to be handled much differently than other star players around the league just because the boss upstairs has a net worth of $17.5 billion. They’ve learned while working under the third-year owner that he operates within a line of reason.

In Flushing, baseball is a business, too. Those that have gotten to know Cohen say it’s important to him not to get emotional or sentimental with player contracts — like the Polar Bear’s. So, Cohen might not overpay for Alonso or aggressively approach his asking price if he and his brain trust determine the parameters of such a deal are unreasonable. There is a limit to everything, though the line that Cohen has demarcated when it comes to the most prolific slugger the Mets franchise has ever produced remains unclear.

What I can confidently report, without any doubt, is that Alonso is not toxic to the Mets’ clubhouse, as one recent report suggested. Bench coach Eric Chavez asked that his thoughts on the subject be printed.

“That’s ridiculous,” Chavez said. “Whoever said that is dumb. It’s just B.S.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 30, 2023 at 12:08 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets, pete alonso

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Itchy Row Posted: August 30, 2023 at 12:37 PM (#6139993)
So Pete Alonso is holding Eric Chavez's puppy for ransom.

Sorry, that should be "Is Pete Alonso holding Eric Chavez's puppy for ransom?"
   2. Buck Coats Posted: August 30, 2023 at 12:44 PM (#6139995)
I'd be shocked if Alonso takes the 6/180 offer proposed in the article. I mean, I don't think he'll get more than that as a free agent, but I bet he thinks he will. He saw Judge get 9/360 and Lindor get 10/341, I think he's demanding something in that range. I don't think they'll be coming to an agreement until he gets to free agency and sees what his actual offers are like.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: August 30, 2023 at 05:22 PM (#6140023)
Can't speak to his self-perception but he'll be a 1B turning 30 when he enters FA and his agent will have explained to him that 7-8 years is the most he can expect.** I don't think I'd offer it but finding something in the 7/$200 to 8/$240 range wouldn't surprise me.

From what we've seen of Cohen so far (small sample), I'd say he's shown himself more than willing to give an extra year or two then buy his way out of it. He stayed away from DeGrom but Scherzer: 2/$86 + a $43 M player option; Verlander 2/$86 + $35 M vesting option; Nimmo through age 37; Lindor through 37; Marte through 36. That doesn't look like the track record of a guy shy of giving the extra year to sign the guy he wants. And the roughly $73 M he's paying on the Scherzer and Verlander deals is not the image of a skinflint (yes, I know, some of that was to buy better prospects in return but that's a lot of money for prospects). Granted, if he did sign Alonso for 8 years, by the time he tires of him, he may find he's got to toss in $40 M just to trade him for nothing.

** Of course a 7-8 year contract can always be turned into a 9-10 year contract with the right deferment if he or the team prefers it that way.
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 30, 2023 at 07:19 PM (#6140035)
The Mets are having a disappointing season, and Alonso is their most popular player, so I’d expect them to make a good faith effort to te-sign him. Guys who hit lots of HRs help sell tickets. It won’t take Judge money, that’s just posturing from his camp, hoping the Mets will feel like they got a bargain when he signs for less. Something around ~ $200M is my guess.
   5. John Northey Posted: August 30, 2023 at 11:59 PM (#6140071)
I guarantee GM's whose franchises have cash are looking at the Mets, and Angels, like vultures do. Alonso (1 year arb then free agent), Nimmo (7 years $20.5 per), Lindor (8 years $34.1 per) are all on the table I'd think. Angels have to have Trout on the table and will be begging people to take Rendon. I'd keep an eye on the Padres if they slump badly in September too (already out of it but how far out will determine if they reload or dump).

This will be an interesting winter. Teams whose regional TV deals fell apart will probably also be selling. A good time to be a team with cash.
   6. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 31, 2023 at 04:31 AM (#6140076)
From what we've seen of Cohen so far (small sample), I'd say he's shown himself more than willing to give an extra year or two then buy his way out of it.

I think the (admittedly unlikely) risk with Cohen is that he decides that this year’s strategy didn’t work and shies away from the big contracts for some time. I could see the Mets floundering with an inconsistent strategy for a while after this season, although I don’t think that’s what will happen.
   7. BDC Posted: August 31, 2023 at 11:25 AM (#6140085)
Selected comps for Pete Alonso, by PAs/OPS+/dWAR, through age 28. Not very meaningful but an eclectic group of guys who could really hit but for various reasons didn't get a huge amount of playing time by that age.

Acuña isn't really comparable, because he's younger, but it's interesting that right now, his offensive career is close to Alonso's, so I included him.

Harry Lumley starred briefly for Brooklyn in the first decade of the 20th century. He really only had one good year, 1906. By age 29 he was out of the majors, a player-manager for the Binghamton Bingoes. I guess that is not a likely career path for Alonso.

Player             dWAR   PA OPSRbaser  WAR    Pos
Tony Oliva          0.1 2677  140     11 23.0  98H
Ronald Acuna Jr
.   -0.5 2908  138     18 24.2 *987DH
Richie Zisk        
-2.4 2839  137     -6 18.4   79HD
Eric Davis         
-3.2 2983  140     40 26.4   87H9
Pete Alonso        
-3.4 2788  138     -5 17.1   *3DH
Jack Fournier      
-3.6 2963  137     -5 19.9  3H789
Harry Lumley       
-5.7 2942  135      1 14.8    *9H
Kal Daniels        
-6.4 2739  138      5 16.9   7H/

Provided by View Stathead Tool Used
Generated 8/31/2023.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: August 31, 2023 at 11:55 AM (#6140091)
I rise to defend the honor of Mr. Lumley - while acknowledging that he ate his way out of baseball way too quickly.

1904 - 138 OPS+, leads NL in HR and 3B, 2nd in RBI, 8th in OPS+, 6th in H
1905 - 131 OPS+, 3rd in HR
1906 - 179 OPS+, leads NL in OPS+ and SLG, 2nd in HR, 7th in H
1907 - 141 OPS+, 2nd in HR, 5th in OPS+, 6th in RBI
   9. Ron J Posted: August 31, 2023 at 12:08 PM (#6140093)
#7 Man I felt bad for Reds fans around that time. Imagine coming up with two talents like Davis and Daniels and neither of them could stay healthy. Tracy Jones looked pretty good (a clear step down but a fairly big guy -- that 180 pound listing is a joke -- who could move and had some idea of the strike zone) and he couldn't stay healthy either.

Funny to be loaded with top tier young players and Barry Larkin turns out to be the durable one.
   10. KronicFatigue Posted: August 31, 2023 at 12:24 PM (#6140097)
Is Alonso definitely the most popular player? I'd say that's definitely true of the online community, but at the games I think I see an equal number of Alonso and Lindor jerseys.

Tier 1: Alonso, Lindor, Piazza, Hernandez

Tier 2: DeGrom, Strawberry, Gooden, Wright

Tier 3: other current Mets, other former Mets
   11. Walt Davis Posted: August 31, 2023 at 05:50 PM (#6140194)
Tier 999: Doug Flynn
   12. Walt Davis Posted: August 31, 2023 at 07:08 PM (#6140215)
#7 what a kooky list. Early 1900s aside, the closest guy to Alonso would seem to be Zisk. Very solid, durable hitter with good but not great power for the era. TZ rates him as a good LF when young but that's not really my memory (don't trust my memory) and he spent a lot of time at DH once he got to the AL. Interestingly enough he was in exactly Alonso's position after his age 27 season -- a pending FA, the Pirates sent him to the White Sox for Forster and Gossage. Despite a good season, team success and lots of fan interest generated by the Zisk/Gamble show, the Sox failed to resign him (or Gamble).

Zisk hung on better than I remembered. He played another 6 seasons, 2900 PA, 117 OPS+, 7 WAR for ages 29-34. Obviously that would be a lousy outcome for Alonso ... or at least a lousy outcome for any team that might sign Alonso.

Nothing jumps out at me as an obvious reason why Zisk would be a bad comp for Alonso. My memory is that he was a reasonably fit guy in Pitt/CHW. Their walk rates are about the same. Alonso has more power but Zisk was the better average hitter. But it's just one comp. We could probably get a wider set of comps by looking at ages 24-28 rather than career, then possibly adjust downward a bit to compensate for Alonso's late blooming.

Somebody with a subscription can do a proper search but I'll start with a scary one just to annoy Mets fans. While he bloomed even later than Alonso, Chris Davis put up a 136 OPS+ from ages 26-29 with a line of 256/342/534 and 15 WAR. Alonso career to date 253/344/531, 138 OPS+ and 17 WAR in one extra season.

Sticking with the Davis theme, Glenn Davis got his first real shot at 24 and from 24-28 put up a 128 OPS+ and 17 WAR. He had 4 WAR left. Tommy Davis was pretty good from 23-28 (16 WAR, missed almost an entire season due to injury), did last until age 37 but was not very good with just 1.5 WAR. On the brighter side, Chili Davis didn't break out until age 24, was not as good as Alonso and still put up 20 WAR from ages 29-37. Ike Davis -- sorry, sorry, triggering.

It's of course not all doom and gloom. For those ages he's only 1 WAR per year behind Freeman and 2 per year behind Goldschhmidt. He's about 1 WAR per year behind Rizzo but that's just defense. All those guys hit for a better average though. I'm having a tough time thinking of guys to comp him to. He's clearly a step or two above the competent but uninspiring sloggers Konerko, Karros and LaRoche. Brandon Belt isn't too far off -- better average and walk rate, less power, 130 OPS+ and 16 WAR from 24-28, again a good chunk of that is defense. Belt has continued to be solid despite seeming to be at the end of the line every third year but still 11 WAR over 7 seasons is not what anybody wants to pay Alonso for.

So I think you have to consider Alonso to be a better hitter than he's shown to want to give him any kind of big contract. The issue I'm finding with comps for him is that, even among guys with this much power, he has a low BA. Or you turn up guys like Khris Davis who are clearly not promising but also probably not as good as Alonso at these ages. Looking at the HR list it's even hard -- Winfield, McGriff? Dunn, Canseco, Cruz? But better than Kingman and Konerko while Juan Gonzalez hit nearly 300 for his career. (In terms of rep and fan appreciation, Gonzalez is probably a pretty good comp.)

I don't mean to slam him for his BA really, it's slightly above league average over his career so maybe he's closer to Winfield and McGriff if we adjusted for context. His BABIP is really low, 30 points below average. That's more a characteristic of McGwire ... and he's not too far off Mac for these ages. He's one of the premier power hitters of today but it's far from clear he'll make it to even 400 HR (currently 185) ... or if he does will that be just because somebody did give him a 8-year contract? Still, if you had to bet on who would be the next McGwire, I think you would have to bet on him; but also, if you had to bet on who would be the next Kingman.
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2023 at 08:13 PM (#6140306)
I think Alonso is a bit unique, this is a guy who out of the gate is averaging 40+ hrs a year. (when you factor in the short season, it's close to 45) He isn't Adam Dunn in that his only value is his power, he's a solid overall player who relies on power. He's a guy you can pencil in over his next contract for 200+ homeruns and maybe even a 500 hr career player. I don't see his value really changing much over the next 5 years. He's exactly what you expect, and his tools translate more or less to him aging within that expected range. Meaning he's a 4 war 40 hr hitting average fielding first baseman over the next 5-7 years. My thought is that generally first baseman are relatively healthy so his injury risk is less than others of his skill set that played corner outfield positions. I would feel comfortable signing him as a player with that projection.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: September 01, 2023 at 08:47 PM (#6140310)
Joel Sherman in NY Post today wrote that he had suggested an offer of 5 years, $175M - but was told that it might need to be closer to $200M.

the key to me there is the "5 years," if that truly is in the real-life preliminary discussion.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF


Thanks to
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogYankees get Juan Soto in blockbuster trade with Padres
(41 - 6:24pm, Dec 07)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogJeimer Candelario, Reds reach 3-year, $45M deal, sources say
(13 - 6:21pm, Dec 07)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogGuardians win Draft Lottery, securing next year's top pick
(7 - 6:19pm, Dec 07)
Last: Zach

NewsblogCarlyle’s Rubenstein Is in Talks to Acquire Baltimore Orioles
(4 - 6:17pm, Dec 07)
Last: Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome

NewsblogEduardo Rodriguez signs with Diamondbacks: NL champs add to solid rotation on four-year, $80M deal, per report
(3 - 6:15pm, Dec 07)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogWho is on the 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot and what’s the induction process?
(406 - 6:15pm, Dec 07)
Last: chisoxcollector

NewsblogOT - NBA Redux Thread for the End of 2023
(152 - 6:02pm, Dec 07)
Last: rr: over-entitled starf@ck3r

Hall of Merit2024 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(190 - 6:01pm, Dec 07)
Last: kcgard2

NewsblogOT Soccer - World Cup Final/European Leagues Start
(325 - 5:49pm, Dec 07)
Last: AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale

NewsblogReports: Astros, Victor Caratini agree to 2-year, $12M deal
(7 - 5:23pm, Dec 07)
Last: Tom and Shivs couples counselor

NewsblogMookie Betts will be 'every-day second baseman' for Dodgers
(38 - 4:14pm, Dec 07)
Last: jacksone (AKA It's OK...)

NewsblogRed Sox trade Alex Verdugo to Yankees for three pitchers
(29 - 4:14pm, Dec 07)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogJerry Reinsdorf meets with Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell
(5 - 3:14pm, Dec 07)
Last: Tom Nawrocki

Hall of Merit2024 Hall of Merit Ballot Ballot
(4 - 3:10pm, Dec 07)
Last: Jaack

Newsblog'I had tears, man': Brett's career on full display in MLB Network documentary
(3 - 10:22am, Dec 07)
Last: RoyalFlush

Page rendered in 0.3620 seconds
48 querie(s) executed