MLB Players’ Association will fight for Pete Alonso’s service time

Pete Alonso takes throw at first base closeup 2021

In the spring of 2019, then-Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen made the bold move to include rookie Pete Alonso on the Opening Day roster — a decision that looked like it was going to cost the Mets a year of control over their budding star.

Had the Mets chosen to manipulate Alonso’s service time by keeping him in the minor leagues until mid-April — a strategy that many teams employ and one that the players are fighting against in current labor talks — Alonso would have become a free agent after the 2025 season, instead of 2024.

But Van Wagenen chose to break camp with Alonso on the roster, setting him up to become a free agent after 2024.

Now, the lockout has scrambled Alonso’s time frame yet again.

If this stoppage stretches 15 days into the regular season, Alonso will lose enough service to see his free agency pushed back to 2025 after all. (Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty are the only other players in similar situations).

Alonso could lose untold millions, and see the course of his career forever altered, because of the lockout.

The good news for Alonso is that the Players Association does not intend to allow that to happen.

Just as the union plans to fight for full pay in a shortened season, a PA source said that the union will insist on players accruing full service time for the 2022 season, no matter how many games are played. MLB is expected to fight for the opposite.

Sep 7, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 7, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The PA does have precedent on its side. In 1995, it was able to win back service time lost during its strike.

Generally speaking, Alonso, 27, could be the poster boy for young stars who are underpaid relative to their impact on the sport. While setting a rookie home run record and winning the Home Run Derby, he made $550,000 in 2019, $652,521 in 2020, and $676,775 in 2021.

While this is far more than the average American worker earned in that time, it is significantly less than many of Alonso’s peers who are not as productive or marketable, not to mention the owners.

After initially responding to a message, Alonso declined to comment.

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