Cubs long-rumored trade target Pete Alonso (right) of the Mets

Getty Cubs long-rumored trade target Pete Alonso of the Mets

If there is a guy who knows a thing or two about baseball in New York, it surely is New York Post veteran columnist Jon Heyman. And while Heyman sees it as a longshot as MLB’s Opening Day is set to get underway, he does project a potential scenario in which the Mets put slugger Pete Alonso on the trade market this year, and the one team he mentions as sure it be interested is the Chicago Cubs.

In his predictions column just ahead of the start of the 2024 MLB season, Heyman foresees Alonso becoming a big story during the upcoming year. It won’t be easy for the Mets to go ahead and deal away Alonso, not after the team dumped star pitchers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer last July, but given the difficulty that could come when trying to sign Alonso next offseason, there is some wisdom to it.

As Heyman wrote: “If the Mets don’t contend, they will have to decide whether they should trade Alonso for prospects. … It’s hard to see them doing it. But it might be the smart thing to do, especially if you believe you won’t be able to sign him back. The Cubs, who are said to like Alonso, are one potential candidate to acquire him, but many teams could use a consistent 40-homer hitter.”

Cubs Could Offer a Top Prospect

Alonso, of course, is a 29-year-old three-time All-Star in the meat of his career. He has been very durable, missing only 24 games in five MLB seasons, and, more important, he has been very productive. Alonso led the league with 53 home runs as a rookie in 2019, and has knocked 40-plus homers in each of his last two seasons. He drove in a league-high 131 runs in 2022 and batted in 118 last season, despite hitting only .217.

The question for the Mets is not quite so much whether they want to keep Alonso—who wouldn’t want to have one of the best power hitters in the game locked up long term? The question is whether the rest of the team is good enough to warrant paying a player like Alonso, or if they’d be better off restocking.

Few teams are better positioned to help another restock with young players like the Cubs, who have the fourth-ranked farm system in baseball, according to Baseball America. Given the fact that Alonso is a free agent, the Cubs would likely only have to give up one of their top prospects in a deal, with another lesser player or two added.

The Cubs’ top prospects, per, are outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, pitcher Cade Horton, outfielder Owen Caissie, infielder Michael Busch and infielder Matt Shaw.

Paying Pete Alonso Could Get Tricky

But getting Cubs owner Tom Ricketts to pay Alonso would be a challenge, too.

Alonso’s projected deals vary. At The Athletic, Tim Britton estimates he could get a seven-year extension from the Mets worth $190 million.

At Spotrac, they were predicting a nine-year, $270 million extension with the Mets heading into the 2024 season, but that did not come to fruition. So an eight-year, $225 million deal is their pick.

The Cubs’ links to Alonso are not new, of course. Just months ago, veteran Cubs reporter Bruce Levine noted that the North Siders had a healthy interest in Alonso.

“The mumbling out there is the Cubs are going to do everything they can to trade for Pete Alonso from the Mets,” Levine said on “Hit & Run with Matt Spiegel” in October. “Alonso, in the last year of a contract, obviously 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, a guy that pounds the ball. Sure, he strikes out but who doesn’t these days?”

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