Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has said that first base prospect Peter Alonso has a chance to win a job out of Spring Training this season, and that's exactly where Alonso's head is at.
"I want to be the guy," Alonso said Thursday morning during an appearance on the MLB Network.
"Yes I have a tremendous opportunity, but I have to work even harder and make the best of it and capitalize," Alonso noted, adding that he has been working hard on his conditioning during the offseason.
The 24-year-old Alonso, whose defense has been heavily scrutinized, told SNY's Steve Gelbs in December that he is setting out to prove people wrong.
"Every time I see something online, every time someone knocks me, it's like, 'Oh, he's not good at defense.' I've really shown that -- since July, I don't think I've made an error since last June," Alonso said. "That's July, August, September, and throughout the (Arizona) Fall League. I've gotten tremendously better. I'm really proud of myself. I'm just trying to keep it snowballing so I can prove people wrong and so I can be happy and play the game I love."
Van Wagenen reiterated during the Winter Meetings in December that he is open to having Alonso on New York's Opening Day roster, which would mean the organization would sacrifice a year of team control.
"For me, if a player is ready on Opening Day and he can go six straight years of continuous service without a hiccup, that's a high-class problem for an organization," Van Wagenen said. "For us, we want to win games in the first week of April as much as we're going to want to in the last week of September. If he can help us do that, then we're going to put the best guy on the field."
To secure an extra year of team control, the Mets would need to wait until at least April 10 to call Alonso up from the minors -- a tactic that teams use often, including with the Cubs and Kris Bryant in 2015.
Alonso finished the 2018 season with 42 homers in a career-high 159 games. He crushed 36 homers during the minor league season, as he hit .285/.395/.579 in 132 games between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas. In the AFL, where he started off hot and cooled off late, Alonso cracked six homers while hitting .255/.339/.510 in 27 games.
With Jay Bruce having been traded to the Mariners as part of the deal that landed the Mets Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano, a potentially huge roadblock to Alonso opening 2019 at first base for the Mets has been removed.
If the Mets opt to not have Alonso on the big league roster right out of the gate, one option they could turn to is newly acquired J.D. Davis.