Mets infielder Pete Alonso swings during a spring training workout on Saturday...

Mets infielder Pete Alonso swings during a spring training workout on Saturday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca


Pete Alonso didn’t spout any ultimatums or deadlines upon his arrival Saturday at Clover Park.

He didn’t need to. There really was no point.

Once Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns said he was fine letting the three-time All-Star play out this season before negotiating a long-term contract with Alonso, that pretty much ended the conversation. And Alonso himself told us Saturday that one never even began.

The extent of his talks with the Mets, according to Alonso, focused on getting his one-year, $20.5 million deal done to avoid arbitration. That happened in January. He says it’s been crickets since while Stearns has publicly stated — repeatedly — that his intention is to negotiate after the season.

Alonso and his agent, Scott Boras, have insisted all along that they’d be willing to listen to the Mets about a long-term extension. But if Stearns has nothing to offer on the subject, well, this is how Alonso ends up on a collision course with free agency — and the very real possibility that these could be his last seven-plus months wearing a Mets uniform.

With the clock ticking and all this dead air, Alonso was asked Saturday about his camp maybe trying to be more proactive on the contract front rather than waiting for the phone to ring. His response was brief but telling.

“It’s just what I think is right,” he said.

So Alonso didn’t come right out and say he is looking forward to gauging his value in free agency — as most Boras clients eagerly do — but that was the message. And there’s nowhere else to go at this stage.

In the past, Jacob deGrom and Francisco Lindor used Opening Day as a deadline to get a deal done, and the Mets — rather than risk losing those two stars on the open market — eventually buckled under the pressure, wrapping things up hours before the season’s first pitch.

In deGrom’s case, he was coming off his first Cy Young Award — he also finished fifth in the MVP vote — and the Mets had his former agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, as their general manager, with the Wilpons still in charge.

Lindor was the first mega-trade of Steve Cohen’s regime, and he was viewed as a foundational piece for the rebranding of the franchise. The result was a record $10-year, $341 million contract for Lindor, who couldn’t have leveraged his position any better.

As for Alonso, he’s a homegrown Met (like deGrom) and arguably the face of the franchise, probably edging out Lindor. Alonso also delivers the most valuable commodity in the game at the highest rate: No one has hit more than his 192 home runs in the past five seasons. Atlanta’s Matt Olson is second with 177, the Yankees’ Aaron Judge and the Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber are tied for third (174) and Shohei Ohtani is fifth with 149.

And then there is the durability factor. Alonso has played in 684 games in those five seasons. Only the Rangers’ Marcus Semien (700) and the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman (697) have appeared in more in that span.

Those numbers alone are worth a good chunk of change. That’s not debatable. But it’s not as if we didn’t just see this scenario play out across town in the Bronx two years ago.

The difference? Yankees general manager Brian Cashman tried to swoop in with an 11th-hour bid for Judge on the eve of Opening Day, but the slugger dismissed the $230 million offer, and it turned ugly when Cashman promptly revealed the figures.

Despite all that drama, and with Judge ticketed for free agency, he responded with an MVP season and an American League-record 62 home runs— one of the greatest offensive performances in history — and then signed a nine-year, $360 million contract the following winter. That’s why Alonso’s current situation doesn’t necessarily mean he’s finished with the Mets.

There’s nothing quite as motivating as a walk year for a first-time free agent, and if Alonso’s star goes supernova like Judge’s, it’s not as if he’s going to price himself out of Flushing. Cohen is baseball’s richest owner, remember? If the Mets want Alonso at season’s end and Alonso truly wants to be a Met for life, the two sides can make it happen, just as the Yankees did with Judge.

Ideally, for a homegrown fan favorite such as Alonso, it’s smoother if the franchise takes care of the business stuff a bit earlier and avoids this free-agent anxiety. But this is Stearns’ first year running the show, and it’s not surprising that he’s choosing to keep his options open. That could include some very hard decisions in the months ahead.

What if Alonso is putting up his usual power numbers, the Mets are out of contention at the trade deadline and Stearns finds himself with an offer he can’t refuse? Leaving Alonso in his walk year allows Stearns the flexibility to make a franchise-refurbishing deal with the potential to bring him back in free agency (though it probably becomes more of a long shot).

You also can’t discount the possibility that Alonso will have a down year, which presents another set of choices.

There’s a risk here for both sides. But as Stearns said earlier this past week, this could be mutually beneficial for the Mets and Alonso in the long run.

“This is an organization that’s dealt with this before with really good players and it’s ended up in a perfectly fine spot,” Stearns said. “Let’s go and have a great year together. You go out and have a great year. Let’s have a great year as a team. And if we do that, the organization and Pete are going to be set up very well going into the offseason.”

Alonso sounds prepared to do that. But he’s going to be carrying this contract baggage for a while, and it only gets heavier from here. Most of Saturday’s 17-minute news conference involved questions about his pending free agency, and even though Alonso handled them well, it’s got to weigh on him going forward.

“For me, I think the No. 1 goal is just being healthy through the course of the year,” he said. “I love it here. I definitely have envisioned myself being a lifelong Met. I love New York. It’s a really special place for my family and I definitely welcome the idea. But I can’t predict the future.”

For now, Alonso is a Met.

Predicting how much longer that will be the case is tough to say.


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