Mets president David Stearns says the team is “certainly invested...

Mets president David Stearns says the team is “certainly invested in trying to keep Pete a Met,” but that investment isn’t coming soon. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

On the brink of spring training, the Mets’ last guaranteed one with Pete Alonso, they don’t appear to be in a hurry to work out a long-term contract.

David Stearns, president of baseball operations, said Wednesday that he is thinking more about 2024 than a new deal that would keep Alonso in Queens for 2025 and well beyond.

That aligned with previous signals in recent months: Both sides seem comfortable letting this season play out and seeing what happens next offseason, when Alonso is scheduled to be a free agent.

“Where we are right now, where Pete is, everyone is going to focus on this year,” Stearns said on Foul Territory, a podcast hosted mostly by former major-league players. “The best thing for us is for Pete to have a great year, and the best thing for Pete is for Pete to have a great year. And then we’ll go forward from there.

“We’re certainly invested in trying to keep Pete a Met. And I’m hopeful that over time we’ll be able to work that out.”

The Mets and Alonso, who hired Scott Boras as his new agent in October, did agree last month on a one-year, $20.5 million contract for 2024. That is a major raise from his $14.5 million salary last season.

With that new pact, they avoided arbitration, a process that sometimes can get contentious and spoil a previously sound relationship between a club and a star player. Stearns is familiar with the downside of that dynamic, having experienced it in recent years with the Brewers against, for example, Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader.

Boras was clear about Alonso’s stance early in the offseason, saying more than once that he was ready to listen if the Mets wanted to talk — but not saying that Boras would be proactive about it or that Alonso wanted to get a deal done. Boras has a track record of almost always taking his clients to free agency and establishing their value on the open market.

“I spoke to David,” Boras said at the winter meetings in December. “We just told him we’re all ears. If he wanted to talk to us about anything, let us know.”

Alonso, whose 192 home runs are tied for fourth-most in Mets history, is coming off a weird season. He racked up his usual slugger numbers — 46 homers, 118 RBIs — but batted only .217, well below his career mark.

After returning quickly from a wrist injury in June, he struggled for about a month, dragging down his numbers on the year. His .821 OPS was the lowest in any of his four full seasons (but still solidly above average relative to the rest of the majors).

“Pete’s a really good player,” Stearns said. “He’s performed on a big stage here for a long time. I know that. We all know that. I know how important he is to our fan base.”

The Mets haven’t made a significant offensive addition heading into the start of spring training next week. That is largely because, Stearns said, they want to make sure there is room for their younger players to play plenty.

Mark Vientos, for example, figures to receive a significant volume of at-bats because the Mets have not signed a veteran DH.

“I’m a firm believer philosophically that we have to let young players play, that we have to allow young players to experience success and setback at the major-league level. That’s how we learn. That’s how we get better. So we have to provide room on our roster for that to happen,” Stearns said. “That’s the approach we’re taking right now. Like every GM or president, you’re never going to say never and you’re always going to keep your options open. But I do think the right approach is to ensure we have sufficient opportunity and playing time for young players broadly as they reach the major-league level.”

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