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Pete Alonso’s London Muse

There’s no way to know how much any of the Mets players or any MLB players check on what’s being written and said about them. Before the advent of mobile phones and social media, the back page of the newspaper was where the big stories were broken and debated. It’s doubtful that today’s major-leaguers ever pick up or see a newspaper at all.

In watching Pete Alonso play for the Mets the past couple of weeks, whatever joy he derived from playing baseball, seems to have evaporated. The team has played poorly this season and Alonso has delivered 14 home runs and an OPS+ of 130 as the Mets begin their two-game series with the Phillies in London.

Alonso does not have to read a paper or look at his phone to know that he’s squarely on the trading block. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Pete is in line for a big payday and that’s what’s held back David Stearns and Steve Cohen from making a long-term deal with Alonso happen. The Mets could deal Pete before or at the July 30 trading deadline, likely receiving a prospect or two, and after the season the Mets will have as good an opportunity to sign Pete to a contract as any other MLB team.

Pete Alonso is a beloved Met even if he’s only been on the team for six seasons including this one. Mike Piazza might be the best power hitter ever to play for the Mets, but Pete Alonso is the best home run hitter the franchise has ever seen. Darryl Strawberry has the club record for career home runs hitting 252 homers in his 8 years with the Mets. Alonso is a two-time All-Star game Home Run Derby champion and has 206 home runs in 5 1/3 seasons including a 60-game pandemic-shortened season in 2020. Were Pete Alonso to have even one more season with the Mets in 2025, it’s a pretty sure bet he’d break Strawberry’s home run record. It’s a bit underreported that Pete has had to do it playing half his games in a ballpark not noted to be friendly to home run hitters.

There’s always been an emotional attachment for the fans with Pete Alonso. Coming out of the University of Florida (as did teammate Harrison Bader), where Pete wore orange and blue, he’s worn those colors again proudly for the Mets. Alonso is a Met through and through, and the thought of Pete playing somewhere else is upsetting even if it’s something Mets management is thinking about.

Statistics can frequently be used to tell a story in a one-sided way. Alonso has shown over his career to be a better hitter in low-leverage situations, early in games or in blowouts one way or the other, compared to high-leverage situations like those with the game on the line. Before jumping to the conclusion that Pete is somehow not ‘clutch’, remember that in high leverage situations, Pete Alonso is one player pitchers would rather not face. Consequently, Alonso will be pitched around or more carefully in high leverage situations. That doesn’t mean he needs to chase balls out of the strike zone as much as he does, but Alonso is rarely given a cookie when the game is on the line.

Pete will be 30 years old this December. Power hitters do not necessarily age gracefully and there are projections that indicate we’ve already seen the best that Pete Alonso can offer. Pete surely would beg to differ.

The road used to be a place to get away from hearing and reading about what’s wrong with the team or a player, since the local papers were far away. No longer is that the case since stories travel on a phone anywhere and everywhere. It’s never-ending. Fans today have voices that can be heard much more loudly, and players can say they ignore social media and stories about them and the team, but most don’t ignore it, and a dynamic social media presence is increasingly important to a player’s marketability and earning potential. So, players end up paying attention to the good and bad whether they want to or not.

Photos showing the Mets arriving in London after a three-game sweep of the Nationals in Washington DC, showed many smiles and even a little joy. The Mets would like to keep the recent good vibes going and Pete Alonso maybe can get back to seemingly enjoying playing for the Mets instead of looking like he’s expecting the guillotine to drop at any moment. Smile Pete, Mets fans still love you. There’ no certainty as to what might happen. But for Mets fans, anything that can be done to make the Mets a true contender is worth considering even if that means trading Pete Alonso. 1986 was 38 years ago.

Mark Kolier
Mark Kolierhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mark Kolier along with his son Gordon co-hosts a baseball podcast called ‘Almost Cooperstown’. He also has written baseball-related articles that can be accessed on Medium.com, Substack.com and now MLBReport.com.


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