ATLANTA – At the end of another losing season for the Mets, Pete Alonso is like most others: stunned at what went wrong, especially to the drastic degree it did.
“I don’t know,” he said Friday before the Mets’ 4-3 win over Atlanta. “There are many questions that need to be answered.”
Among them: Why hasn’t this position player core developed the way the Mets thought it would?
When Alonso was a rookie in 2019 and his 53 home run binge in the second half helped set a winning record, that seemed like the start of something. Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo were the relative veterans of that couple and Alonso and Jeff McNeil were the homegrown newcomers. Dominic Smith broke out after a false start to his career in the Major League. JD Davis was an outside addition who also seemed to get it.
But since then. . . lose a lot. They went 26-34 in the 2020 pandemic-shortened season and are 77-83 this year. Their alleged team chemistry, lauded by past and present front office regimes, has been unsuccessful.
Suddenly, these could be the last games these batters play together. Over the next month, the Mets will try to hire a president of baseball operations, and that person will be tasked with deciding what to do with a roster riddled with underachievers. If there is a change at the top, there are no promises for anyone below.
“Those thoughts definitely run through your head every now and then,” Alonso said. “But we don’t know. It’s going to be interesting what happens or what” [transpires] during the low season. It will be a very interesting outdoor season. We will see. We will see.”
Brandon Nimmo said: “This team could look a lot different next year. And this organization could too. It’s unbelievable, all the things that can happen this off-season. So with that said, I’m trying to figure it out to take and enjoy these people and these last few games.”
The Mets’ disappointments mean manager Luis Rojas’ job status is at stake. Team president Sandy Alderson said he expects to make a decision on Rojas and the coaching staff shortly after the end of the season.
“I loved playing for Luis,” said Alonso, who has been doing so every year since 2017, when they played at Double-A Binghamton. “He’s treated me so well. He’s always respected me. I’ve always respected me. He’s a great guy, he’s a baseball man, he loves what he does and he cares. He doesn’t just care about winning of matches, he cares about everyone personally including in that locker room.”
Alonso isn’t the reason the Mets didn’t live up to expectations. Complementing Nimmo’s two homeruns and Tylor Megill’s five shutout-innings with one hit allowed on Friday, Alonso was 3-for-4 with an RBI-double.
That raised his average to .263, his OBP to .342 and his slugging rate to .520. He has improved defensively, struckout fewer and hit 37 home runs, third in the National League. Rojas called him ‘our best attacking player’.
“It was a very good year, a very consistent year for me,” said Alonso. “I’m happy with how I played, but I don’t want to just be able to take my game personally, but also take this team to the next level.”
Alonso emphasized team dynamics during his 13-minute media session at the end of the season. And he reiterated his belief that the Mets have enough talent to win a World Series.
“It’s just a matter of getting the best out of ourselves, not just individually but as a team,” he said. “Absolutely, we can win a championship with the same guys in that clubhouse. It’s just that we just didn’t do it.”
Should there be additions or changes to the schedule?
“Fortunately,” he said, “it’s not my job to decide or find out.”