Pete Alonso, Scott Boras and hypocrisy in MLB free agency

Sep 30, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) reacts
Sep 30, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) reacts / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know what kind of season Pete Alonso will have. But he’s the strong early favorite for one award: most hypocritical, patronizing, fawning statement of spring training.

Alonso arrived at Mets camp at Port St. Lucie, Fla., last week entering his final season of team control. He becomes a free agent at season’s end.

In his debut press conference, Alonso all but scribed in blood his love for and commitment to the franchise that drafted him.

“I love it here. I definitely have envisioned myself as a lifelong Met,” he said. “And I love New York, it’s a really special place for my family and (me).”

As to re-upping long-term, he told reporters, “I’ve definitely welcomed the idea (of staying long-term).”

Alonso had an off-year for batting average last season, but he did pound 46 home runs and drive in 118 runs. For those obvious reasons, he remains the centerpiece of the Mets' present and, ideally, the team's future.

Given those numbers, Alonso’s expressed desire to stay in Queens long-term should hearten both Mets fandom and management. And it would, except for one small problem. He doesn’t mean it.

Alonso just switched agents, hiring to represent him the one guy who is least likely to make it easy on the Mets to facilitate what Alonso says are his wishes.

He is now represented by Scott Boras, who makes a declared practice of taking clients to the open market. In the process, Alonso ditched Apex Sports Management, a firm with a far less confrontational reputation, and one that had been with Alonso since his minor-league days.

The unfortunate aspect of Alonso’s press conference was that none of the media members in attendance had the gumption to ask him the elephant-in-the-room question: “Hey, Pete, if you want to stay in New York as badly as you say you do, how come you just hired the one guy who’s least likely to make that happen?”

The question needed to be asked, even though the answer is obvious. All that stuff about wanting to be a lifetime Met…that was for consumption by gullible members of the media and fan base. It was the ‘make nice, don’t make waves’ answer designed to placate those who didn’t stop to think too hard about it.

Had Alonso been forced to answer to answer the representation question truthfully, this is what it would have sounded like: “I have a chance to make a mammoth amount of money next year, Boras is the guy most capable of getting it for me, and cash is what it’s about. As for staying in New York, I’m down with it if the Mets make the biggest offer. But basically I’ll be available to the highest bidder.”

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing abstractly wrong with Alonso switching agents, and there’s nothing abstractly wrong with him hiring Boras. But don't give us the BS about wanting so badly to stay. The Boras methodology is so clear and practiced in the opposite direction that he could patent it; his clients are going to the open market.

If Alonso sincerely felt like Citi Field was the place he wants to call home long-term, Boras is the last guy he’d hire to make that wish come true.

Alonso’s words say he wants to stay. But his actions speak to a very different priority. It may be too strong a term to call what the first baseman said a lie, but it certainly was patronizing and hypocritical.