Pete Alonso addresses trade rumors, Mets GM Bill Eppler: ‘It’s not personal’

Jul 28, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) reacts after hitting a three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Citi Field.
Jul 28, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) reacts after hitting a three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Citi Field. / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With the Mets’ 2023 season failing to meet the club’s lofty goals after a 100-win season a year ago, the most pressing matter facing the franchise in September is instead the future of All-Star Pete Alonso.

With general manager Billy Eppler completing a series of moves at the trade deadline that sent veterans acquired to win-now for prospects to build a winner down the road and the slugging first baseman set to become a free agent after the 2024 season, rumors about a trade this offseason have intensified. Rumors that even Alonso, try as he might, can’t ignore.

“Of course trade rumors are going to pop up,” Alonso told Fox Sports’ Deesha Thosar on Tuesday. “But from a front office standpoint, Billy has to do his job and he has to focus on the team. My job is to play the best I can for the team.

“Obviously, I’m a piece to the puzzle and I’m a part of the machine. But he’s gotta do his job, and I gotta do mine. He has to answer the phone. It’s not personal.”

Even before the offseason, trade talks began prior to the Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline as the Milwaukee Brewers “made a significant push,” according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and the Chicago Cubs held talks, too. But how far along those talks got in the process is a matter for debate with both sides offering different interpretations of the level of progress made on a potential deal, Rosenthal reported last week.

In the meantime, the Mets have held conversations with Alonso and his representatives about an extension, according to’s Mark Feinsand, but the two sides disagree about what kind of deal for the slugger.

“The Mets made an offer that, while it certainly wasn’t insulting, wasn’t one good enough to convince Alonso to forego free agency,” a source with knowledge of the talks told Feinsand.

That source added that the offseason, which for the Mets will begin on Monday, October 2 and run to Opening Day on March 28, 2024, “is a long one” and that there is “no urgency to get something done right now.”

Alonso has been a key face of the franchise since he burst onto the scene in 2019 with a 53-homer season en route to winning Rookie of the Year. The 28-year-old, who is one homer shy of back-to-back 40-homer seasons, has 185 long balls over his first 655 games and has a career .875 OPS and 138 OPS+.

Money for an extension isn’t an issue as owner Steve Cohen has shown a willingness to spend and spend big for talent, even if the club decides to use 2024 as a transition year to make a big push in 2025.

“We love Pete as a Met,” Cohen said after the trade deadline on Aug. 2. “He’s an integral part of the Mets. He’s still with us for another year. We hope we work things out… So, hopefully, we’ll get a few shots at the apple and try to figure [a contract] out.”

And even the idea that next season will be a rebuild is not a universal one among MLB circles. Eppler said in early August that while the goal is ultimately to build sustainability, “we will put together a competitive team” in 2024, and that could impact a decision to trade, extend or stand pat on Alonso this offseason.

“I’m not convinced the Mets are ready to tank 2024,” a source told Feinsend.

However, a rival executive speaking to Feinsand believed that a trade of Alonso would be in the best interest of the Mets.

“Trading Alonso is likely the most prudent course of action if the Mets plan to take next season as a soft reset year,” a National League executive told Feinsand. “It saves them what will be a large 2024 salary and there’s no reason they couldn’t then attempt to sign him as a free agent after 2024. The return they can expect to receive for one year of Alonso at his projected salary won’t be huge, but that’s still likely to be their best approach.”

Another executive with an NL team told Feinsand that he believed there’s a likely chance they could move the first baseman, but because New York does not have the same payroll constraints as other franchises, they could hold out for “high-end prospects, similar to how the deadline played out” this past August.

An American League executive believes there’s some chance Alonso could be dealt this offseason as there will not be many “bat-oriented players available this offseason” in a weaker free agent class, but a trade is not a slam dunk certainty.

“The best Mets team in 2024 includes him, and I can’t imagine they have entirely predetermined the outcome,” the AL exec told Feinsand.

Last week, Alonso addressed the rumors head-on.

“For me, I love representing this organization,” he said. “I love being a Met, I love representing the city of New York the best way I possibly can. I love everybody in this clubhouse. Being a Met is the only thing I know. … It’s been phenomenal here so far.”

Alonso added, “I don’t know what the future holds, but right now, I’m a Met and I love being a Met. I take pride in putting on the jersey every day and representing the city of New York.”

Mets players deny ‘toxic’ report

A report that the Mets’ had a “toxic clubhouse” and that “Pete Alonso is part of that” got the players notably upset and coaches tried to minimize the anger in the clubhouse over that report by reminding players that the report was one person’s opinion and not one held by the press at large, a Mets’ higher-up told Thosar.

Alonso said he did not put any stock in the report as “anything and everything can be written” in the social media age and the only thing that matters to him is “the respect from my peers, which are the people who I work with every day. And that includes not just players and coaches, but also [media members] who are in here [the clubhouse].”

Of the person who made the initial toxic report, Alonso said he has “never seen him.”

“I don’t even know him,” he told Thosar. “I don’t really put any merit into it because it’s someone I don’t know. If you want to say whatever about my play, that’s fine. But for me, I just want to be the best player and best person I can be every single day. I just want the respect of my peers that I see and work with every day.”

New York’s bench coach Eric Chavez called the report “ridiculous” and told Thosar that, “Whoever said that is dumb. It’s just B.S.”

And both current and former teammates backed up the first baseman.

“I think he’s one of the best guys in this clubhouse,” Francisco Lindor said.

And Max Scherzer, in town with Texas this week, denied the clubhouse was toxic.

“No, no it was not at all,” Scherzer said on Monday. “We actually had a great clubhouse. We had great veterans in the clubhouse, everybody included. That’s definitely not the reason why we lost. We were a tight-knit group, [and] had a lot of fun together.”