The New York Mets don't expect to negotiate with slugger Pete Alonso on a long-term contract before he tests free agency next offseason.
That's according to president of baseball operations David Stearns, who laid out his expectations regarding Alonso at a Monday news conference. He summed up his assessment as an acknowledgment of dealing with agent Scott Boras, whom Alonso signed with in October.
"I think that's probably the most likely outcome," Stearns said when asked if he anticipated the absence of negotiations with Alonso until next offseason. "We're not going to get into the specifics of any particular negotiation. ...
"But, look, when you have a really talented player, who's really good, who's entering his final year of club control, who happens to be represented by Scott Boras, these things generally end up into free agency, and we understand that. This is an organization that's dealt with that before."
Stearns, who was hired in October from the Milwaukee Brewers, said that he had not met with Alonso since taking the job.
Alonso, 29, is slated to play on a one-year, $20.5 million arbitration deal this season. He'll hit free agency for the first time next offseason in the absence of a long-term contract with the Mets.
Alonso is one of baseball's best power hitters. He's made three All-Star teams in his five MLB seasons, including in each of his last two seasons. He led the NL in home runs as a rookie in 2019 with 53. He hit 46 in 2023 and 40 in 2022 while leading the league with 131 RBI.
For his career, Alonso's slashed .251/.342/.528. In his four full seasons not counting the 2020 COVID-shortened campaign, he's averaged 44 home runs and 116 RBI per season. He's played in at least 152 games in each of those seasons.
Assuming he hits the open market, Alonso will be one of the most coveted players in free agency next year. With Boras as his agent, that's a very likely outcome, as Stearns noted.
Boras met with Stearns in November and said afterward that he and Alonso are open negotiations before next offseason.
"We're open to listening," Boras said at baseball's general managers meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. "Pete has directed me to listen to what they have to say and we'll go from there."
Boras clients have re-signed with teams in the past prior to testing free agency. See Stephen Strasburg's seven-year, $175 million contract with the Washington Nationals in 2016. But Strasburg was an outlier from the norm that famously sees Boras initiate hardball tactics to extract the biggest deals possible for his clients on an open market.
Stearns, who's been around baseball since 2005, understands this. And he seems to be at peace with the process.