On Peter Alonzo’s last at bat of the 2018 season, he hit a walk off, 2 run home run. It was the final game played at Cashman field, the final game for the team knowns as the Las Vegas 51s, and the final game that the Vegas team will be affiliated with the New York Mets.
It was a fitting end for Alonso’s season. He will not be with the Mets in 2018, Mets interim General Manager John Ricco announced last week. And this is completely ok.
Social media of course took off, with claims of poor management, poor ownership and general cluelessness. What many of these fans fail to realize, is there are very good reasons for the Mets to keep Alonso off the roster for now. None of those reasons involve his skill levels.
So here is a break down of the contractual issues involving Alonso. These are all taken right from the Major League Baseball website.
Issue one: Service time
Each day a player spends on the major league 25 man roster, he earns one day of service time. This includes any time spent on the major league disabled list. If you are not on the 25 man roster, you do not accumulate service time. If you are called up, then sent back to he minors, your service time is frozen, until you get called back up. This is true of all players, at all times, including September call ups.
The season is now, officially 187 days long. This is up from 183 days in years past, as the union requested more off days. To get one year of service time, a player now needs to reach 172 days total on the 25 man roster. This could be achieved in one season, or built up over multiple seasons.
If the New York Mets called up Peter Alonso now, that starts his ‘clock’ as they say. He starts to build towards that 172 days of service time. After six full seasons, a player is eligible for free agency. If the Mets call Alonso up for September, and he becomes the Mets opening day starting first baseman, he will become a free agent after the 2024 season.
If Alonso does not reach those 172 days in 2019, he will not be a free agent until 2025. Even if he misses by a day or two of service time. By holding Alonso back right now, they could even keep him in the minor leagues next season, for the first two to three weeks of the major league season. This would also keep him from getting that first year of service time, a similar tactic the Chicago Cubs used with Kris Bryant.
If the Mets brought him up now, they would have to keep Alonso in the minors that much longer to have the same results. By keeping Alonso in the minors for this season, the Mets give themselves options going forward. At a time when no one really knows what direction the Mets will go this off season, options with one of your best prospects is a good thing to have.
Super Two status
If Alonso is as real as it seems that he is, he should earn Super two status. This should not be a big deal for the Mets, but could potentially land Alonso a lot more money over the years.
Every off season, Major League Baseball looks at all players that have more than two years of service time, but less than three full season. They take the top 22% of those players, in terms of service time, and rule those players eligible for immediate arbitration. This allows the player to go through arbitration four times, instead of just three.
If the Mets are concerned about this, they would have to wait until next June before promoting Alonso.
40 man roster
As we know, Peter Alonso is not on the New York Mets 40 man roster. He does not need to be, at the point.
Players that are signed or were drafted at 18 years old or younger have five full seasons before they need to be added to the 40 man roster. If the player is 19 or older, they have four seasons before they are required to be put on the 40 man. This is all to prevent teams from stockpiling young players.
Alonso was drafted in 2016, at age 21. He does not need to go on the 40 man roster until AFTER next season.
To play for the major league team, a player needs to be on the 40 man. If the teams 40 man roster is full, they would need to release, trade or designate for assignment, another player. Mets 40 man roster, as of right now, is full. To add Alonso to the Mets, they would need to dump someone else.
The Rule 5 draft
The final consideration in Alonso’s promotion this September is the rule 5 draft. It is held every year at the winter meetings (This year’s winter meeting are in Las Vegas. We are going, who’s joining us? First round of cocktails at the Skyfall Lounge is on us).
Any player that is eligible for the 40 man roster, but is not on it, is eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
As stated above, one reason to not bring up Alonso, is having to remove someone else from the 40 man roster. I am sure there are plenty of fans out there that would dump Jose Reyes, to make room.
But it is not that easy. We are not going to go through the Mets full roster and see how many 22-25 years old there are, that are not on the 40 man. We are going to take management’s word for it, that the New York Mets need every spot on the 40 man leading up to the Rule 5 draft. Once again, calling Alonso up now could mean losing another player.
Mets fans would love to see Peter Alonso with the Mets for the rest of the season. And it would be fun to see him play. To see if he can still mash against major league pitchers the way he did against those in the minors. Bringing Alonso up now both limits the Mets options with him, and would mean losing another player.
And because of those reasons, it makes complete sense to keep Peter Alonso off the New York Mets roster for the rest of the 2018 season.