Pete Alonso evaluates Year 3 with Mets, future as 2021 season winds down: 'I want to be one of those cornerstone guys'

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Pete Alonso rounds bases 9/7 cropped
Pete Alonso rounds bases 9/7 cropped

Mets 1B Pete Alonso has produced as a third-year MLB pro, slashing .259/.339/.516 with 37 home runs and 92 RBI through 149 games in 2021. He put his latest season on par with 2019's record-setting rookie campaign, bouncing back from 2020's shortened 60-game schedule.

As the Mets began a season finale three-game series Friday at the Braves, though, Alonso maintained a strong focus on his team's fifth straight missed postseason and third since he got called up.

"Personally, I think it was a very good year, very consistent year for me," Alonso said in a pregame scrum with the media at Truist Park in Atlanta. "But I can't necessarily have a full-encompassing thought or everything, because I'm going to need to take some time after to kind of reflect and really kind of digest the 180 days. But for me, I'm happy with how I played. But I want to be able to kind of take my game -- not just personally, but -- take this team to the next level. I love playing for New York. I love playing for the Mets. I love representing Orange and Blue.

"But for me, I hate to lose. This isn't just where any of us want to be right now, going home Oct. 3. We want to be going home holding up a trophy and being able to join a parade. So it's really frustrating. But next year, I think next year I'm going to make some adjustments to try and help this team the best I possibly can -- not just personally, but really ... add a little bit more responsibility to myself to kind of help push this team over the edge and get us to the playoffs and contend to win a championship."

Offseason decisions loom for the Mets. Chief among them is the future of second-year manager Luis Rojas, whose club option for 2022 has not been picked up.

"I mean, I've played for Luis since 2017," Alonso said. "I've been with him since every single year. Even though he wasn't in a manager role in 2019, I've still been a player of his in some way, shape or form. I love playing for Luis and, again, I'm always going to love every single experience that I've had because he's treated me so well, he's always had respect for me and I've always had respect for him and other way around.

"So he's just a great guy, he's a baseball man, he loves what he does and he cares. He cares about winning games, but he cares about everybody personally in that locker room, too. So he's a great man, he's a great baseball guy and I really enjoy playing for him."

The roster is a question, too. Headlined by RF Michael Conforto and RHP Noah Syndergaard, a couple of core players from the team that made a run to the 2015 World Series, a pivotal winter is coming for the Mets.

"I don't know," Alonso said when asked about why the Mets' young core has not developed into a championship-caliber one. "And that's a part of it. There's a lot of questions that need to be answered. And for me, I think personally, I want to be able to get the team over the edge. I want to be one of those cornerstone guys that's on the field dogpiling and champagne showering at Citi Field. I want to be that. Personally, I've been consistent. But I think that, also, there's so many different areas where I can improve on and get better.

"And I think, for me, I just want to be able to keep going up. I mean, there's certain things that I've gotten better at. Defensively, I feel like I've gotten better. I mean, I still need to get better at it, even though I have had a significantly better year. Running the bases, I feel like I've gotten better. Striking out less, I feel like I've gotten better. Putting the ball in play and hard more consistently, it's gotten better. But it's not enough right now. I just need to keep finding other higher levels and just keep trying to be the best version of myself as a player and as a leader."