ATLANTA — At the end of another losing season for the Mets, Pete Alonso is like most everyone else: mystified at what went wrong, especially to the drastic degree that it did.
"I don’t know," he said Friday before the Mets’ 4-3 win over Atlanta. "There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered."
Among them: Why has this position-player core not developed the way the Mets thought it would?
When Alonso was a rookie in 2019 and his 53-homer binge helped spur a second-half surge to a winning record, it looked like the start of something. Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo were the relative veterans of that bunch and Alonso and Jeff McNeil were the homegrown, hot-hitting newcomers. Dominic Smith broke out after some false starts to his major-league career. J.D. Davis was an external addition who also seemed to figure it out.
But since then . . . lots of losing. They went 26-34 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and are 77-83 this year. Their purported team chemistry, praised by past and present front-office regimes, has not yielded success.
Suddenly, these may be the last games these hitters play together. Over the next month or so, the Mets will seek to hire a president of baseball operations, and that person will be tasked with deciding what to do with a roster dotted with underperformers. When there is a change at the top, there are no promises for anyone below.
"Those thoughts for sure swirl around in your head from time to time," Alonso said. "But there’s no knowing. It’s going to be interesting what just happens or what [transpires] throughout the offseason. It’s going to be a very interesting offseason. We’ll see. We’ll see."
Brandon Nimmo said: "This team could look completely different next year. And this organization could. It’s incredible, all the things that could happen this offseason. So with that being said, I’m trying to soak it in and enjoy these people and these last couple of games."
The Mets’ disappointments mean manager Luis Rojas’ job status is in question. Team president Sandy Alderson said he expects to make a decision about Rojas and the coaching staff shortly after the season ends.
"I’ve loved playing for Luis," said Alonso, who has done so every year since 2017, when they were in Double-A Binghamton. "He’s treated me so well. He’s always had respect for me. I always have respect. He’s a great guy, he’s a baseball man, he loves what he does and he cares. He cares not just about winning games, he cares about everybody personally in that locker room, too."
Alonso is not the reason the Mets fell short of expectations. Supplementing Nimmo’s two homers and Tylor Megill’s five shutout innings with one hit allowed Friday, Alonso went 3-for-4 with an RBI double.
That raised his average to .263, his OBP to .342 and his slugging percentage to .520. He has improved defensively, struck out less and hit 37 homers, third in the National League. Rojas called him "our best offensive player."
"It was a very good year, a very consistent year for me," Alonso said. "I’m happy with how I played, but I want to be able to take my game not just personally but help take this team to the next level."
Alonso emphasized the team dynamic during his 13-minute season-end media session. And he reiterated his belief that the Mets have enough talent to win a World Series.
"It’s just a matter of getting the most out of ourselves, not just individually but as a team," he said. "Absolutely, we can win a championship with the same guys in that clubhouse. It’s just that we just didn’t do it."
Do there need to be additions or changes to the roster?
"Thankfully," he said, "that’s not my job to decide or figure out."