In David Stearns’ introductory news conference, the new Mets president of baseball operations strongly suggested he would not make any definitive decision on Alonso this offseason.
David Stearns was introduced as the Mets’ new president of baseball operations at Citi Field on Oct. 2, 2023.
While the first baseman likely will not be traded and likely will not be extended any time soon, his long-term future still in doubt.
I expect Pete to be the Opening Day first baseman next year,
Stearns said from Citi Field on Monday.
Pete’s an important member of this team. He’s an important member of this organization. And I think we’re really fortunate to have him.
Alonso, just 28 and yet tied for fourth on the franchise’s all-time home runs list with 192, can be a free agent after the 2024 season.
There were trade rumors swirling at the deadline around Alonso, a leader of the club who repeatedly has said he loves New York and wants to be here.
The Brewers, whom Stearns ran until a 2023 season in which he took a step back and served as an adviser, were at the center of those trade rumors, though Stearns said he was not involved in the talks.
Billy Eppler’s Mets locked up Jeff McNeil before he reached free agency but allowed Brandon Nimmo to hit the open market, only to then re-sign the outfielder.
Stearns’ Mets will not take the McNeil route with Alonso, which means the All-Star will return next season and be faced with an onslaught of questions about his future and bring added pressure to each at-bat.
I think Pete’s demonstrated he can handle pressure,
Stearns said of Alonso, who finished another strong, if somewhat down, 2023 season with a .821 OPS and 46 home runs in 154 games.
He handled a whole lot of questions this year — had a pretty good season and handled them well. I’m not particularly concerned about Pete being distracted.
Alonso is a homegrown Met, drafted in the second round in 2016, who cracked into the majors in 2019 and instantly proved to be a star, beloved by the fan base and the clubhouse.
He has been a rare power threat and a unifier among his teammates.
Alonso will turn 29 in December, likely is looking for a long extension and plays a position (first base) at which players can age poorly.
The two biggest contracts to first basemen in baseball history Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols eventually looked like albatrosses.
Stearns suggested the intangibles who Alonso is and where he has come from and not just a statistical projection will play a role in the eventual decision.
I think the entire package weighs into it,
Pete is a great player. He is also good in the clubhouse, and he is also homegrown. All of those matters.
Mets fans should be happy about the possibility of Alonso sticking around.
The New York Mets will have a tough decision to make this offseason about arguably their biggest star.
The two sides have been discussing an extension but if they fail to come to terms on a deal there’s a real possibility, he could be moved this offseason.
Although this is the case, new president of baseball operations David Stearns gave a positive update on his future, as transcribed by Metsmerized Online’s Mike Mayer.
New York will have a busy offseason as the club looks to get back to the postseason in 2024 and it sounds like Alonso could be in town for the long run.
Now, the 38-year-old baseball executive, who grew up in Manhattan and interned with the Mets in 2008, joins forces with Steve and Alex Cohen to try and fill the void of championship emptiness over the past 36 years.
The dream is to win a World Series. This is a step towards that,
I feel very fortunate and privileged to be here right now.
I understand this doesn’t happen, right? You don’t grow up a rabid fan of a team and then one day get to stand here at a press conference and talk about leading that team. I understand this doesn’t happen and so the fact that it has happened to me I recognize how incredible that is.
After eight seasons serving in the front office of the Brewers, including three seasons as general manager and four seasons as president of baseball operations, Stearns built up a reputation as a top baseball mind.
Now, he’s looking forward to trying and build a strong organization with sustainable championship aspirations.
When Stearns stepped down as Brewers president of baseball operations and into an advisory role in 2022, it was a moment of reflection.
He called the longstanding rumors of joining the Mets “uncomfortable” because he loved Milwaukee.
It would only take a special opportunity to get him back leading the front office. Then, Cohen called.
They met for the first time in August, about three more times for between three and six hours and talked on the phone about a dozen times.
During dinner at an undisclosed location, it clicked that their philosophies aligned.
I think just spending time with him got me comfortable,
I meant what I said (in the press conference), he wants to win, and Alex wants to win. And I think equally important I believe they understand what this franchise can and should mean to this city and the community and the good that it can do. That’s impactful to me.
Cohen said there were no serious discussions with any other candidates for the position.
As Stearns takes over the baseball operations department, he wants to be able to grow with the new manager and ensure they align philosophically.
That fresh start led to Buck Showalter’s exit at the end of this season.
Stearns said he does not intend to rush the managerial search and would consider all candidates.
We are going to cast a wide net. We’re going to have a real process,
We’re going to at some point interview candidates of varying backgrounds and I imagine candidates who have both been major league managers before and those who have not, so the point here is finding the right person we believe can grow with the organization and hopefully be here for a long time.
The Mets new president of baseball operations would not discuss Craig Counsell, specifically.
Counsell has spent the last nine seasons as Brewers’ manager under Stearns for the majority of those season.
The Brewers begin their playoff push on Tuesday. Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy is another known commodity for Stearns.
Stearns said he would like the next manager to be involved in helping fill the coaching staff.
I view the managerial position as one of true partnership, someone who is working side by side with me and the rest of our baseball ops group,
The manager has so many responsibilities these days, it is a big job, but first and foremost is the ability to manage people, manage personalities and create and facilitate organizational culture where people enjoy coming to work and work hard.
Despite questions on building a farm system and pitching staff, the major looming question is Pete Alonso’s future with the Mets.
Alonso, is a three time All-Star, has one final year of arbitration eligibility before becoming a unrestricted free agent.
Pete is a great player. He is also good in the clubhouse, and he is also homegrown. All of that matters,
I know over the summer there was some trade speculation and I’ll just say, I expect Pete to be the Opening Day first baseman next year. Pete’s an important member of this team. He’s an important member of this organization and I think we’re really fortunate to have him.
That does not necessarily address Alonso’s future moving forward and whether the team has plans to sign him to an extension before the start of the 2024 season.
I think Pete’s demonstrated he could handle pressure,
He handled a whole lot of questions this year and had a pretty good and handled them well. I’m not particularly concerned about Pete being distracted or unable to handle questions or pressure.
The 38-year-old executive was placed above general manager Billy Eppler and under Cohen in a working structure fairly common around baseball but new to the Mets.
Stearns will lead a search for the team’s next manager after Buck Showalter was fired Sunday. And Stearns said he expects Pete Alonso to be New York’s first baseman on Opening Day next year, the All-Star slugger has been the subject of trade speculation because he’s eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.
Cohen had been seeking a president of baseball operations to oversee the entire department since buying the club in November 2020.
Several attractive candidates, including Stearns, were unavailable during a three-year process that Cohen called “sort of dog years.”
I’m really excited by this,
You know, I’ve been really patient looking for the right person. As David and I got to know each other, I mean, it’s clear that we’re aligned in our thinking. We get along very well.
A former Mets intern, Stearns grew up in New York City and recalled sneaking into games at Shea Stadium as a kid during the late 1990s.
Stearns enjoyed a successful run while leading Milwaukee’s baseball operations department from September 2015 through the 2022 season before stepping down and moving into an advisory role.
He agreed to join the Mets last month, and his contract with the Brewers expired Sunday.
Milwaukee came within one win of the World Series in 2018 and returned to the playoffs each of the next three seasons.
The Brewers won NL Central titles in 2018 and 2021, and another one this year.