Could Mets be faced with Pete Alonso, Juan Soto decision this winter?

Juan Soto Mets rumors
New York Yankees’ Juan Soto turns toward home plate to score on a single by Giancarlo Stanton during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Wednesday, June 5, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The probability of David Stearns seriously flashing Steve Cohen’s cash in his second offseason as the New York Mets’ president of baseball operations will be significantly higher.

By winter 2024-25, Stearns will have a full season under his belt in which he will identify what pieces within the organization’s ranks can stick around for future contention.

The biggest name with the largest question mark remains Pete Alonso. The slugging first baseman is a free agent following the 2024 season, which has gotten off to a slower start. He is batting .240 with a .797 OPS with 14 home runs and 32 RBI across his first 64 games. 

Upon his arrival, Stearns showed little haste in working out a long-term extension for the homegrown product, who is on pace to smash every power-hitting record in franchise history. If the Mets stick around the NL Wild Card picture the less likely Alonso is traded at the deadline, which is a notion that has been floated across the Mets’ leadership regimes in the past year. 

Stearns forecasted extension talks getting into full swing with Alonso and his agent, Scott Boras, in the offseason, which is projected to cost them significantly if they go that route. The 29-year-old already turned down a seven-year $158 million extension last season offered by ex-general manager Billy Eppler. 

In recent days, we have gotten a better idea of what Alonso and Boras are looking for. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the duo will “seek at least $200 million,” which would place him at the top of the first-baseman market.

Pete Alonso Mets Cardinals
Pete Alonso (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

If the Mets are committed to keeping Alonso long-term, they will get that deal done. However, there is a looming prospect across town that could change the direction of the franchise. 

Yankees superstar Juan Soto is racking up the dollars on his future long-term contract when he becomes a free agent this winter thanks to a blistering start to his first season in the Bronx

At 25 years old, his contract will realistically span a decade and is expected to yield in the neighborhood of $500 million. That is a number that might just scare Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner out of the Soto sweepstakes. After all, he said last month that the team’s current payroll of over $300 million “is not sustainable for us financially.”

In 2025, the Yankees already have to pay Aaron Judge $40 million, Gerrit Cole $36 million, Giancarlo Stanton $32 million, and Carlos Rodon $27.5 million. That’s four of only six players that are under team control. Potentially paying $50 million annually without deferrals for Soto would hamstring the franchise.

Enter the Mets, which Ken Rosenthal of FOX and The Athletic once again alluded to during the Yankees’ tilt on Saturday night against Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“If [Soto] hits $500 million and it includes no deferrals, that’s going to beat the present value of Shohei Ohtani’s deal, which is heavily deferred,” Rosenthal said on the FOX telecast. “Then the question becomes, ‘OK, which teams would offer Soto such a deal?’ The Yankees certainly are one, the crosstown Mets could be another…

“There’s always something to that New York rivalry. But at the same time, if the Mets want to, if Steve Cohen wants to, if he thinks Juan Soto is their guy of the future, he can outbid anyone and will. So that is something that has to be in the back of Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner’s mind.”

The Mets are not as willing to blow past the luxury tax threshold as they did in 2023 and paying upwards of $70 million per year for two players in Soto and Alonso is a price too rich for a team that, like the Yankees, has just six guaranteed contracts on the books in 2025.

The value of those Mets’ contracts, however, is roughly $60 million less than the Yankees’ bunch ($127.6 million vs. $185.1 million) and they have an influx of young, cheaper, controllable assets on the cusp of becoming full-time MLB players whether that be infielders Luisangel Acuna and Jett Williams, outfielder Drew Gilbert, and starting pitchers Christian Scott, Blade Tidwell, and Mike Vasil.

Soto is a far more complete hitter compared to Alonso and if Mark Vientos continues to produce at his current clip — over his last 47 games dating back to Aug. 30, 2023, he has a 162-game pace of 38 home runs — he is a cheaper, logical option to replace Alonso at first base if the Mets opt to put all their eggs in the Soto basket. 

If Stearns is hesitant to allocate massive funds toward one player like Soto, keeping Alonso is the obvious course of action to ensure the first baseman becomes the greatest offensive player in franchise history.

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