Mets avoid arbitration with Alonso for second straight year
NEW YORK -- Pete Alonso and the Mets have agreed to a $14.5 million deal for the 2023 season to avoid salary arbitration, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
Friday marked the deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players to agree on a salary for 2023 before exchanging salary figures, a move that typically results in the two sides going to a hearing. Instead, shortly before the clock struck midnight, the Mets announced that they had come to terms with one of the faces of their franchise for the second straight year.
Alonso will earn nearly double the $7.4 million he made in his first year of eligibility last season, setting a record for the largest single-season sum given to an arbitration-eligible first baseman. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. tied him for that distinction in a deal with the Blue Jays later on Friday.
The Mets also agreed to one-year deals with reliever Drew Smith, catcher Tomás Nido and utility infielder Luis Guillorme, as well as right-handed pitchers Elieser Hernandez and Jeff Brigham, the latter of whom New York acquired in a November trade with the Marlins. As reported by Feinsand, Guillorme and Hernandez will earn $1.6 million in 2023, while Nido will earn $1.575 million. Smith will make $1.3 million, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, and the details of Brigham's deal were not yet disclosed. The Mets have not confirmed the financial terms of any of these contract settlements.
That leaves two-time All-Star second baseman Jeff McNeil -- the NL’s reigning batting champion -- as the Mets' lone unsigned arbitration-eligible player.
Alonso’s pay bump comes after a 2022 season in which the 28-year-old was named a National League All-Star for the first time since his Rookie of the Year Award-winning '19 campaign and once again finished in the top 10 in NL MVP Award voting. Alonso led the Majors with 131 RBIs and hit 40 home runs while compiling a .271/.352/.518 slash line.
Smith, meanwhile, will see his salary increase from the $750,000 he made in 2022, after the high-leverage righty posted a 3.33 ERA and career highs in strikeouts (53), innings (46) and appearances (44).
As for McNeil, who is entering his age-31 season, he and the Mets can continue negotiations in order to reach a contract agreement in the following weeks. But if the two sides don’t come to a consensus, his salary for the 2023 season will be determined by a panel of arbiters at a hearing in February.
Fresh off one of the best offensive seasons of his career, which also resulted in his first Silver Slugger Award and NL MVP votes, McNeil is looking to earn much more than the $3 million he received in his first year of arbitration-eligibility in 2022. Per Feinsand, McNeil filed at $7.75 million, while the Mets filed at $6.25 million. If a hearing does take place, the independent arbiters will have to choose one of those two salary figures.
Earlier this offseason, the Mets avoided arbitration with left-hander Joey Lucchesi by agreeing to a one-year, $1.15 million deal (per source) in December, as well as with first baseman/designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach by exercising a $1.5 million club option in November. The club also non-tendered infielder/outfielder Dominic Smith, who signed with the Nationals last week, and righty Sean Reid-Foley, who underwent Tommy John surgery last May, ahead of the November deadline in order to circumvent the arbitration process.