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Top 8 Landing Spots for Mets' Pete Alonso in 2024 Free Agency

Zachary D. Rymer

In all likelihood, next winter's free-agent market is going to feature the best home run hitter in Major League Baseball.

Don't take it from me. Take it from New York Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns, who told the media on Monday that he expects slugging first baseman Pete Alonso to reach free agency after the 2024 season.

"I think that's probably the most likely outcome," Stearns said. "... When you have a really talented player who's entering his final year of club control who happens to be represented by Scott Boras, these things generally end up in free agency."

This doesn't mean the Mets can't or won't preempt Alonso's free agency by extending him. It's rare for a star Boras client to sign an extension so close to free agency, but it has happened.

But let's assume for now that Stearns is right and that Alonso will indeed be a free agent next winter. This way, we can get ahead on assessing his value and speculating on his potential landing spots.

What Will Be Alonso's Value in Free Agency?

Pete Alonso Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

While we're assuming things, let's assume that Alonso's 2024 season will be like any other Alonso season.

That is, one with lots of home runs and runs batted in. The 29-year-old is the MLB leader in both departments with 192 and 498, respectively, since he debuted as the National League Rookie of the Year in 2019. He also has three All-Star selections on his record, not to mention a pair of Home Run Derby titles.

You can say Alonso isn't perfect, and you'd be right. He's only a career .251 hitter who, per the major metrics, also gets mixed reviews for his defense. He's thus less of a complete first baseman than, say, Freddie Freeman, Matt Olson or Paul Goldschmidt.

Alonso and Boras may nonetheless have their sights on a bigger contract than any of those three have. Jon Heyman of the New York Post wrote last August about how the price for the Mets to keep Alonso was likely be $200 million.

Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and Prince Fielder are first basemen who've signed $200 million deals in the past, but only Votto's didn't prove to be an unmitigated disaster.

Still, never say never. Freeman got a six-year, $162 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers when he was coming off his age-31 season. Keep the same average annual value and tack two more years onto that to account for Alonso's relative youth, and you get an eight-year, $216 million pact.

Even if this represents the high end of what Alonso and Boras could hope for next winter, what's for sure is that Alonso's market is going to be limited to teams that can spend big bucks. And not all of those are going to need a slugging first baseman.

As for which ones could, let's discuss them and rank them as we go.

Honorable Mentions

Paul Goldschmidt Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals

What binds these teams together is that they, too, stand to see their incumbent first basemen test free agency next winter.

Unlike Alonso, however, Christian Walker and especially Paul Goldschmidt are legitimate extension candidates. And even if they do reach free agency, it would be hard to imagine Arizona or St. Louis pivoting to Alonso. Each club has only ever done one nine-figure deal in free agency.

Baltimore Orioles

Could the sale of the Orioles from the Angelos family to David Rubenstein eventually usher in a new era of big spending? It seems possible. At the least, it would be hard for Rubenstein to spend any less than the Angeloses have.

But would the O's really invest so heavily in a right-handed-hitting slugger despite how unfriendly Oriole Park at Camden Yards is to such hitters? One doubts it.

Washington Nationals

Speaking of the Orioles sale, it's potentially good news for the Nationals because it could bring about the end of the two teams' long-running dispute over local television rights.

I'm otherwise throwing the Nats in here for the sake of having at least one dark horse in the conversation. They may be rebuilding now, but signing Alonso next winter would basically be general manager Mike Rizzo trying for Jayson Werth 2.0.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins only have Carlos Santana signed for this year, after which they'll be back in the market for a first baseman. And after $373.5 million worth of deals for Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton and Pablo López, it's not as hard as it used to be to imagine them spending.

Then again, the Twins are also one of the teams in RSN limbo right now, hence why their payroll is set to come down this year.

8. Los Angeles Angels

Nolan Schanuel Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Current First Baseman: Nolan Schanuel

Sure, Shohei Ohtani is gone. And sure, there may be a $42 million gap between what they spent in 2023 and what they project to spend in 2024. Yet the Angels' company line is that they're not rebuilding.

If this is still the case after the '24 season comes and goes, perhaps they'll be in the mood to spend big bucks on Alonso. They certainly could have used him last season, wherein their first basemen ranked 27th in MLB with a .683 OPS.

However, one could hardly blame Angels owner Arte Moreno if the notion of investing heavily in a first baseman makes him sweat. The last time he did that was with Albert Pujols' $240 million contract, and that resulted in him averaging 1.3 rWAR over 10 seasons.

Besides, let's give Schanuel a chance, no? How much power he has to offer is an open question, but the .402 on-base percentage he posted in 132 plate appearances last year is doubly impressive given that he was drafted just months earlier.

7. Seattle Mariners

Ty France Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Current First Baseman: Ty France

The Mariners were set at first base in 2021 and for the first half of 2022, and the credit for that was all France's. He was a .291 hitter for the former and an All-Star for the latter.

Yet ever since he hurt his left arm in June 2022, France has hit only .244 with a basically average 101 wRC+. This is suboptimal stuff for the cold corner, which is to say nothing of the American League-low 14 homers the Mariners got from the position in 2023.

Hence why the Mariners making a run at Alonso starts creeping into one's mind. They're frankly overdue to spend big on a slugger, and they could assuage any concerns he might have about T-Mobile Park by pointing out that, according to Statcast, he'd have more home runs on his record if he'd been calling it home all this time.

Of course, this is assuming France won't bounce back in 2024. It may not be a given, seeing as how he was supposedly healthy going into last year yet still struggled. But if this year does go better, Seattle will once again be set at first base.

6. New York Yankees

Anthony Rizzo Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Current First Baseman: Anthony Rizzo

Rizzo earned himself a two-year contract by hitting exactly 32 home runs for the fourth time in his career in 2022. And initially, life was good as he racked up an .880 OPS and 11 homers through his first 53 games of 2023.

But then he suffered a concussion, after which he basically stopped hitting before the Yankees finally placed him on the injured list in August. Should his troubles persist into 2024, the odds of his $17 million option for 2025 getting picked up would be slim.

Turning that option down would create a space for Alonso, whose hypothetical appeal to the Yankees would be twofold. One, there's no question he can thrive in New York. And two, having him and Aaron Judge would mean having the two best righty sluggers in the same lineup.

But since Rizzo is purportedly healthy again, he may yet prove worthy of having his option exercised. And even if the Yankees do eventually decline it, one would have to think that their primary target in free agency won't be Alonso, but rather Juan Soto.

5. Boston Red Sox

Triston Casas Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Current First Baseman: Triston Casas

The Red Sox aren't represented here because Casas can't hit. He put up an .856 OPS as a rookie last year even though he didn't really get his bat going until June.

Whether Casas can field, however, is a point of concern for Boston. He tallied minus-four Defensive Runs Saved last season, as well as minus-10 Outs Above Average. Either way, he was one of the worst defensive first basemen in either league.

Though Alonso is hardly the next coming of Keith Hernandez in his own right, he's better than that, at least. He also has two things in abundance that the Red Sox are lacking: right-handed thump and sheer star power. And I'd venture a guess that neither would be diminished by Fenway Park and Boston.

Ah, but there's the question of how much the Red Sox are willing to spend these days. Their Opening Day payroll landed outside MLB's top 10 for the first time since at least 2000 in 2023, and yet another cut is on tap for this season.

4. San Diego Padres

Jake Cronenworth Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Current First Baseman: Jake Cronenworth

Going back to teams that didn't get much power from the cold corner last season, let's just say that the Padres found out the hard way that Cronenworth is not cut out for the position.

He provided 10 of the 12 home runs that San Diego got from the cold corner, which placed dead-last in MLB. Alas, more of the same is in order at least until Ha-Seong Kim is out of the picture and there's an opening for Cronenworth to move back to second base.

Then again, that should change sooner or later. Sooner, if the Padres trade Kim. Later, if he turns down his half of a 2025 mutual option and becomes a free agent. Either way, there are two potential avenues to an opening for Alonso.

Like the Red Sox, though, the Padres' willingness to spend has become the subject of skepticism. Their payroll is set to drop by about $100 million this year, and whether it'll go back up any time soon is anyone's guess. There's already a lot of money on their long-term books, after all.

3. San Francisco Giants

LaMonte Wade Jr. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Current First Baseman: LaMonte Wade Jr.

In fairness to Wade, he got a down-ballot MVP vote in 2021 and was back at it last year after a down season in 2022. He finished with a .373 OBP, good for eighth among National Leaguers who took at least 500 plate appearances.

That OBP came with only 17 home runs, however, and that effectively made Wade part of the problem on an offense for which only Wilmer Flores topped 20 homers. The freshly signed Jorge Soler should help, but it's still easy to imagine the Giants being back in the market for power next winter.

Were they to pursue Alonso, it would be merely the latest chapter in a story that's seen the Giants try and fail to add Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani. One of these swings has to connect eventually, right?

One would think, but the tricky part with free agency is that the player has the final say in where he goes. And to this end, Alonso may be no more willing to take his power into Oracle Park's power-killing environment than any of the above were.

2. Chicago Cubs

Michael Busch Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Current First Baseman: Michael Busch

Whether Busch will stick as the Cubs' first baseman may depend on whether they re-sign Cody Bellinger. The odds of them doing so still seem good.

Even if the Cubs do bring back Bellinger, however, they might still emerge as a suitor for Alonso next winter. Bellinger is just as capable in the outfield as he is at first base, after all, and the Cubs just plain seem to want Alonso.

They tried for him at last year's trade deadline and were said to once again have him on their radar at the outset of this offseason. One way to read this is that they know how deep their lineup is but are aware it lacks a proper middle-of-the-order threat.

Having potentially $30.5 million worth of salaries for Kyle Hendricks, Drew Smyly and Yan Gomes coming off the books next winter would only help the Cubs' cause if they do go after Alonso. As such, the only thing keeping them from the No. 1 spot on this list is the likelihood that he'll ultimately choose not to move.

1. New York Mets

Pete Alonso Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Current First Baseman: Pete Alonso

Just because the Mets haven't extended Alonso doesn't mean they don't want him long-term or the resources aren't there.

Nobody needs to be told by now just how rich Mets owner Steve Cohen is. Or, for that matter, how much he's willing to spend. Even for what will be something of a bridge year for the franchise in 2024, the payroll is still set to be over $300 million.

Otherwise, Alonso has never sounded like a guy who can't wait to get out of New York. The words he often goes to about playing there tend to be some variation of "I love it here."

For his part, it was only last winter that Cohen dished out $264 million worth of contracts to keep Brandon Nimmo and Edwin Díaz from leaving. That loyalty also figures to extend to Alonso, with one source telling Heyman last August that they would be "extremely surprised" if Cohen let the slugger go.

None of this is to suggest that the Mets and Alonso sticking together after 2024 is a fait accompli. Just that it's hard to imagine him ending up anywhere else.

Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.


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