Brodie Van Wagenen sure knows how to make himself popular with New York Mets’ fans. Shortly after talking about being in on every free agent after his introductory press conference, Van Wagenen flew to the Arizona Fall League to take a look at the Mets’ top first base prospect, Peter Alonso. Van Wagenen also met with Alonso and came away very impressed, telling reporters at the GM Meetings that Alonso is going to be a big part of the Mets’ plans in 2019, MetsBlog.com reports.
At an impromptu media briefing, Van Wagenen indicated that Alonso will get plenty of opportunities to play first base in spring training and a fair shot to be the team’s Opening Day first baseman. The Mets refused to give Alonso a look at the majors this season despite the fact that he hit 36 homers and 119 runs in the minors this season. Concerns about defense were the main argument against giving Alonso a look at first base in September, but there had been speculation that the Mets were eyeing first base as a spot to play Jay Bruce in 2019. Bruce split time between first and right field in September, but Van Wagenen’s optimism about Alonso speaks volumes about how valued he will be within the organization.
There were also questions about whether or not the Mets would factor service time considerations into the decision about Alonso, but Van Wagenen noted that he is in the business of winning games and that wins in April count just as much as wins in September. This is all well and good, but the Mets may still opt to start the year with Bruce at first to buy themselves a few weeks of Alonso in AAA. Waiting until after April 11th to bring Alonso to the majors buys the Mets another year of team control ahead of free agency, and that is something they can’t ignore if he is that good. Two weeks of games in April of 2019 shouldn’t outweigh the possibility of guaranteeing Alonso is on the roster in 2025, and that’s a conclusion a smart front office should eventually reach. Either way, Alonso’s chances of being a key contributor to the Mets in 2019 appear to have improved significantly thanks to Van Wagenen’s support.