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Pete Alonso, Juan Soto’s paths to long-term New York futures may only get more complicated

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In June of last season, the Mets engaged in another attempt at signing Pete Alonso long-term.

An offer was made through his then agency, Apex Baseball, at seven years for $158 million. The Mets baseball operations, at that point led by GM Billy Eppler, were trying to do a multi-year deal with Alonso that would include his final arbitration season in 2024 then six more years.

The bid was influenced by the eight-year, $168 million extension fellow first baseman Matt Olson had signed with the Braves before the 2022 season. The difference is that Olson signed two years before free agency. Alonso would have just one year until free agency. So the Mets offer reflected the final seven seasons at $153 million of Olson’s pact — what would have been his age-29 walk year at $21 million plus six free-agent years at $132 million.

Alonso would be 29 in his walk year, so he would be topping Olson’s total from that age forward. The offer also was designed to be enticing because it was worth more in “current value” than the six-year, $162 million free-agent pact that Freddie Freeman signed with the Dodgers. The Players Association calculated that deal at about $148 million in current value due to heavy deferrals.

Mets’ Pete Alonso hits a double in the second inning against the Phillies on May 13, 2024. Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Alonso’s lead agent then, Adam Karon, had a policy when he represented the Mets first baseman not to talk to reporters about any negotiating details and refused comment when contacted. But I heard the sides never got close to a deal. And, without that extension and with the Mets underachieving into non-contention, the club did discuss Alonso in July trade talks, notably with the Cubs.

When David Stearns took over as president of baseball operations after last season, he quickly removed Alonso from trade discussions. At the Winter Meetings, I asked executives from two teams I thought should be in that market why they perceived it was not open. They pretty much mimicked each other: 1. Stearns did not want to begin his tenure by infuriating fans by trading such a popular player when … 2. He knew he would receive less for Alonso for just one year rather than one-plus, from the previous July when the Eppler administration had been underwhelmed by the July offers. 3. The guesstimation that the return would not be all that different if the Mets were out of the race this July and wanted to try to trade Alonso as they would have been in the offseason.

Also, Steve Cohen has never seemed overly enamored with the fan negativity that would come from trading Alonso.

Stearns said via text, “Nothing really to add on this one other than what I’ve publicly stated.” Both Stearns and Cohen have said they would like to sign Alonso long-term.

Besides Eppler to Stearns, the other substantial change in this saga was that late last season Alonso decided to hire Scott Boras as his representative.

Boras is a central player in the major storylines hovering over the New York teams this season. Alonso might not have been in play at the last Winter Meetings, but an elite hitter was dealt — Juan Soto to the Yankees. And Soto also is in his walk year and repped by Boras, whose history is to generally take his best players into free agency.

Appearing on Jack Curry’s “Yankees News and Views” podcast, Hal Steinbrenner indicated he would like to discuss an extension for Soto in-season. In a text message, Boras wrote, “Always happy to talk to Hal.” But it is hard to envision what the Yankees could offer in, say, July that would keep Soto-Boras from coming this far and not seeing what open bidding would net.

Soto rejected a 15-year, $440 million extension from the Nationals prior to being traded to the Padres during the 2022 season. In the two seasons since, he is in the midst of pocketing $54 million, including $31 million this year from the Yankees. It was why he could reject Washington: Soto knew he would make life-changing money in his two remaining arbitration seasons.

Shohei Ohtani’s 10-year, $700 million record contract calculates with his huge deferrals to $46.08 million annually for luxury-tax purposes. If the Yankees offered Soto a straight $47 million per for 12 seasons for a $564 million total, does that get it done? I have never suggested a contract, by the way, that Boras has not thought way too low, and I suspect here he would say why should Soto take a contract through his age-37 season when Aaron Judge goes to 39 — among other things? Conversely, it is $564 million, which Steinbrenner might think is crazy, too. And you wonder just how many teams — as special and as young as Soto is — would play in that realm?

Juan Soto Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

One possibility is Cohen’s Mets, especially if Alonso were to go elsewhere — and maybe with Cohen’s largesse he would do both.

In a phone conversation, Boras did not have to oversell Soto, who has assimilated to the Yankees spectacularly. Boras simply said, “I would just use the word ‘special.’ ”

Boras used many more words on Alonso. He knows that he is going to fight an industry turn away from the $200 million-plus mega-contracts for first baseman such as Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder that all aged poorly. It is a rejection of the limited athlete, corner position in their 30s (Alonso turns 30 in December).

Pete Alonso signals safe as the umpires review a play at the plate after Alonso tries to score and is tagged out to end the 9th inning against the Cubs on May 1. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Boras rejected the comps to Olson and Paul Goldschmidt (five years, $130 million) because those were extensions, and to Freeman because Freeman was two years older than Alonso in reaching free agency.

“The market for consistent 40-homer, durable, infield-capable, true middle-of-the-lineup sluggers is the question.” Boras said. “Note there are none available in free agency and none coming [in the next few years]. Plus, he’s New York proven, which is an unanswered question for many others — not Pete. It’s elite-level durability and production at a prime age [29], which is simply something most MLB teams do not possess. They will covet the opportunity to have free-agent access to such talent.”

Alonso has hit at least 40 homers three times, tied with Nolan Arenado for the most among active players. Of the other eight active who have done it at least twice, six are in the midst of long-term contracts, and the others are J.D. Martinez, who turns 37 in August, and Joey Gallo, who is Joey Gallo. Alonso leads the majors in homers since arriving in 2019 with 202 (going into the weekend) followed by Aaron Judge (185), Kyle Schwarber (183) and Olson (182). He has played the third-most games (727) in that time behind Marcus Semien (745) and Freeman (743).

Will Alonso reach 40 homers for a fourth time, which would give him one more than every other Met in history combined? Will Soto match Judge and win the MVP in his walk year? It is part of the season within the New York season — the storylines that hover over the year.

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