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PORT ST. LUCIE — All things considered, Pete Alonso’s first experience being arbitration-eligible went about as well as he could have expected.
And while a long-term deal was not broached during this negotiating process, according to Alonso, the Mets first baseman isn’t ruling out something like that happening down the road.
“Eventually, yeah, we’ll see,” Alonso said Wednesday after a workout at Clover Park. “I love New York. It’s a special place. I’ve really enjoyed my time playing and for me I think we really, me and my family, have embraced the city. We love it here. But again, we don’t know [what the future holds].”
For now, Alonso and the Mets on Tuesday came to an agreement on a one-year contract worth $7.4 million to avoid arbitration. Alonso, who is still under team control through 2024, described the experience around Tuesday’s deadline as “unique,” since the lockout pushed it into spring training instead of its usual time in the offseason, but he was relieved not to have it drag on into the season.
“Going through that with a lot of other guys in the locker room was extremely unique, where all of us are kind of like, we’re all trying to negotiate at the same time and we’re pointing fingers at each other,” said Alonso, who made $676,775 last season.
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“It was really exciting because there’s so many different layers to baseball. To hit that next step is really exciting. I’m just really blessed for the opportunity, really thankful for the opportunity. It’s great that the Mets have believed in me since Day 1. I’m just really blessed that we came to an agreement.”
With the business side of baseball out of the way, Alonso was happy to turn his focus back to the field, where he hopes to make even more noise this season.
After arriving at spring training a day after getting into a scary car accident, Alonso has settled in and is feeling good about his swing with two Grapefruit League games under his belt. Following a down year in 2020, Alonso looked more like himself last season, batting .262 with 37 home runs and a 134 OPS-plus.
Alonso should have some more support around him in the lineup this season after a busy offseason in which the Mets landed Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar — plus Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt in the rotation.
“It’s safe to say everyone’s extremely juiced up,” Alonso said. “Everyone’s excited because we have a lot of talent. We have a lot of experience on the coaching staff. It’s gonna be full throttle. So I’m very, very excited to get this thing going.”
The Mets’ competition in the NL East has not just stood idly by, though, as the defending World Series champion Braves and Phillies have also bulked up their rosters.
“I feel like our group is excellent, but we gotta win games in the season,” Alonso said. “In order to be the best, you gotta beat everybody. For us, we have to rise up to the occasion.”
While Alonso indicated he would miss batting against Scherzer — “I love the challenge and I love the battle,” he said — he is happy to have another ace added to the Mets’ promising rotation.
“It’s gonna be special,” Alonso said. “I know there’s going to be my fair share of games where I’m going to be out there being a spectator because they’re going to be mowing them down. But I know I got a job to do, make every single play I can. The guys that we have on the mound, the amount of horses we have, it’s gonna be really special watching them work over 162 plus playoffs. It’s gonna be exciting.”