SARASOTA, Fla. — Pete Alonso already has a good idea what the celebration could be like if he is placed on the Mets roster this week, as expected.
“I might cry if they give me the thumbs up, because it’s a lifelong dream,” Alonso said Monday before the Mets beat the Orioles 9-7 in their Grapefruit League finale. “This is my livelihood, my life’s work and to get the thumbs up, you’re a big leaguer, that’s surreal.”
Alonso may have to wait until Wednesday, by which time the Mets will have to set rosters, for the official word. But barring an injury between now and then, the slugging first baseman will almost certainly be wearing a Mets uniform Thursday for the team’s season-opener in Washington.
The 24-year-old Alonso didn’t just win a job this spring, he turned the decision into a no-brainer, slashing .352/.387/.620 with four homers, displaying steadiness at first base and impressing team officials with his hustle on the bases.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen has repeatedly said the Mets will not attempt to manipulate Alonso’s service time for an extra year of team control by keeping him in the minor leagues to begin the season if he has proven worthy of a big-league job.
“I would just say I am really happy with myself, that is about it, because baseball is kind of funny,” Alonso said. “Results are kind of skewed I think because an average is an average, home runs are home runs, but it doesn’t show how many times you absolutely lace a ball and it’s right at someone. I am kind of happy with the quality of my at-bats and my consistency or just squaring the ball up, and that’s all I wanted to do.
“If I hit .200 this spring and everything is well hit, it’s just right at people, it’s only a matter of time before they fall. Right now, I am just happy we are squaring the ball up consistently.”
Alonso hit 36 homers last season between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas, but never received a September call-up. He spent part of the offseason in the Arizona Fall League, dedicating himself to base running and defense as much as his swing.
“Going to the Fall League helped me out last year because I wanted to work on being more of a complete baseball player,” Alonso said. “Whether that’s running the bases better, playing defense, and ultimately that is going to help because it will keep you in the ballgame for more than just hitting: making an aggressive turn and running the bases efficiently or saving runs in the field, so whichever way you can win it’s going to help the team ultimately.”
On Monday, he was even asked to try a sacrifice bunt with runners on first and second and nobody out. Alonso’s second bunt attempt was popped up to the catcher.
But manager Mickey Callaway saw the bunt attempt as something more than a wacky spring training maneuver.
“We put it on, we want to make sure he is comfortable doing it,” Callaway said. “We talked about it before the game, if he had a chance to do it, because there might come a time where he might have to do that if he’s in the big leagues.”