Alonso Accuses MLB Of Altering Baseballs To Limit Offense, Hurt Free Agency

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Pete Alonso Robinson Cano Mets
Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets is congratulated by his teammate Robinson Cano #24 after hitting a solo home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning at Citi Field on September 06, 2020 in New York City.

New York Mets star Pete Alonso isn’t concerned with pitchers who use foreign substances on the mound. The first baseman believes there’s a different reason for the lack of offense throughout the sport.

Alonso blamed the struggles of hitters on MLB’s decision to change the baseballs that are used during games. The 26-year-old even suggested the league specifically did it with the intent of hurting this year’s upcoming free agent class, which is highlighted by some of the sport’s best hitters.

“I think that the biggest concern is that Major League Baseball manipulates the baseballs year in and year out depending on the free agency class — or guys being in an advanced part of their arbitration,” Alonso told reporters Wednesday before the Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-1. “So I do think that’s a big issue — the ball being different every single year. ... Maybe if the league didn’t change the baseball, pitchers wouldn’t need to use as much sticky stuff.”

 

 

Several All-Star-caliber position players are set to hit the open market this winter. Much has been made of paydays that could be in store for  shortstops Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Corey Seager and Javy Baez. The Mets signed shortstop Francisco Lindor to a $341 million contract before the start of the season, setting the bar for this year’s free agent class.

Reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman and early 2021 NL MVP candidate Kris Bryant are unsigned for the 2022 season. Star third baseman Nolan Arenado can opt out of his contract. 

Alonso did not back down from his comments, seemingly accusing MLB of making a concerted effort to decrease offensive production so that the best free agent hitters won’t command such lucrative contracts.

“That’s a fact,” he said. “Guys have talked about it, but I mean, in 2019, there was a huge class of free agent pitchers, and then that’s, quote-unquote, the juiced balls. Then 2020, it was a strange year with the COVID season, but now that we’re back to playing like a regular season with a ton of shortstops or position players that are going to be paid a lot of money, high-caliber players, I mean yeah, it’s not a coincidence.”

In 2019, the league set a record for home runs. That didn’t stop New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole from inking a record $324 million contract. Stephen Strasburg re-signed with the Washington Nationals for $245 million. 

The 2021 league-wide batting average of .237 is tied for the lowest of all time, and players are striking out more than ever. Home runs are down significantly compared to 2019. There have already been six no-hitters.

Alonso said he has no problem with pitchers using sticky substances. He hit his 10th home run of the season Wednesday night and has a career-high .265 batting average.

“Whatever they want to use to help control the ball, let them use it, because for me, I go in the box every single day, and I see guys throwing harder and harder every day, and I don’t want 99 [mph] slipping out of someone’s hand,” Alonso said.

MLB is expected to crack down on pitchers doctoring baseballs this month.


Pete Alonso Robinson Cano Mets

Photo: Steven Ryan/Getty Images

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