QUEENS — Pete Alonso’s long-term future with the Mets naturally rose to the forefront of David Stearns’ introduction on Monday afternoon at Citi Field.
The slugging first baseman’s contract will run out following the 2024 season and after a summer that saw his name connected to trade rumors around the deadline — including with Stearns’ former club, the Brewers — there hasn’t been much indication from the organization about the desire to keep Alonso in blue and orange for the foreseeable future.
While he didn’t provide much resolution about anything beyond 2024, Stearns quieted any trade rumors that might be swirling this winter.
“I know over the summer there was some trade speculation. I’ll just say: I expect Pete to be the Opening Day first baseman next year,” Stearns said. “He’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.”
The 28-year-old has continuously gushed about playing in New York with the Mets and went as far as to say “I want to keep having good seasons so I can help this team win a championship,” after the regular-season finale on Sunday. His desire to stick around would give the Mets a homegrown superstar turned lifer that will likely smash all of the franchise’s offensive records.
“I think the entire package weighs into it,” Stearns said when it comes to assessing Alonso’s future. “Pete is a great player. He’s also good in the clubhouse and he’s also homegrown. All of that matters.”
But there doesn’t appear to be too much of a rush to hammer out a long-term deal this offseason, meaning Alonso — who hit 46 home runs this season for his third career 40-plus-homer campaign in five years — would have to play with that looming over his head in 2024.
Consider Stearns unconcerned.
“I think Pete has demonstrated he can handle pressure,” he said. “He handled a whole lot of pressure this season and handled that pretty well. I’m not particularly concerned about Pete being distracted or unable to handle questions of pressure.”