The New York Mets are projected to have one of the highest payrolls in MLB next season despite making very few offensive changes to a roster that disappointed in 2023.
But the Mets do have Pete Alonso, who has hit more homeruns than any other player since he made his debut with the team in 2019. And in order to maximize his talents, Jon Heyman of the New York Post is calling on the Mets to sign another premier slugger.
“The Mets have done right by holding on to their homegrown slugger, but the lack of a proven slugger to bat behind Alonso is a real weakness (and perhaps even a reason for Alonso to bolt as a free agent after the year),” Heyman noted. “But there’s still a chance to fulfill the promise of competitiveness.”
Heyman identified two veteran sluggers who are still looking for a home by Opening Day as additions that the Mets “owe” to Alonso: J.D. Martinez (who holds a projected $15.4 million annual market value, per Spotrac) and Jorge Soler (who has a projected $13.9 million market value). Both players made the 2023 NL all-star team as designated hitters.
“Lo and behold, two bona fide middle-of-the-order hitters remain unemployed,” per Heyman. “And don’t view J.D. Martinez and Jorge Soler as just two outstanding hitters but as two potential lineup protectors — and maybe even a couple of potential bargains.”
How Can J.D. Martinez, Jorge Soler Help New York Mets and Pete Alonso?
Alonso is widely seen as one of the best first basemen in the big leagues because of his outstanding bat. And last season he hit 46 homers, the second most of his career, but his on-base averages were career lows, including a .217 batting average and .318 OBP mark.
MLB analysts have pointed out that the Mets are doing Alonso a disservice without a strong hitter batting right after him at fifth in the order. This would better “protect” Alonso by giving opposing pitchers more motivation to offer him higher-quality pitches.
“Giving their most prolific power hitter protection in the lineup is one of the top needs for this ball club,” Tim Boyle of FanSided’s Rising Apple wrote of the Mets. “It’s a waste of a good bat to leave him vulnerable. If pitchers knew right behind Alonso was an equally or almost as dangerous hitter waiting, we might get an even better version of him.”
Heyman noted that Martinez and Soler are available options worth stretching the Mets’ monumental payroll for.
“Martinez is one of baseball’s best and most consistent hitters,” he reported. “Soler at his best is a one-man wrecking crew, someone who hit 48 homers playing home games at pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium and won the World Series MVP only a few years ago for the rival (Atlanta) Braves.”
The New York Mets Have Fortified the Pitching Staff for 2024
Though there are cries for help in a batting order that could be squandering Alonso, the Mets have made some significant moves to improve their pitching staff this offseason.
They’ve added left-handed reliever Jake Diekman and starter candidates Luis Severino, Adrian Houser and Sean Manea. Now the batting order might be next for an upgrade.
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