Ever since the departure of Anthony Rizzo, the Chicago Cubs have yet to find a long-term solution at first base. After the trade with the New York Yankees in 2021, Frank Schwindel took most of the time at first – along with spot-starts for Patrick Wisdom, Alfonso Rivas, and Matt Duffy. 2022 mainly was Rivas and Schwindel, with young PJ Higgins emerging and taking some starts on non-catching days. And in 2023, it was all by committee, with 4 players getting more than 20 starts.
2023 was surprisingly successful on the north side, as the Cubs were in contention for a playoff spot in late September. After what they accomplished, 2024 looked like the year they’d flip the switch on trying to compete for a championship. Even with the spending from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the talented youth in Atlanta with the Braves, anything can happen if you get a ticket to the dance. Case in point: the last team to make it in made it to the World Series last year.
As currently constructed, the Cubs would have Wisdom as their best option to be the regular first baseman. With all due respect to him, that isn’t going to win a championship – let alone a division. The Cubs must add to this roster if they want to prove predictors wrong in 2024.
A surprise name that has been floated around as an option for the Cubs has been the New York Mets’ first baseman, Pete Alonso. Alonso is entering the final year of his contract, and the Mets have been reportedly ready to aim for the future rather than the present. So, is a trade on the horizon for the big man?
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Mets Want Alonso To Stay – But Will He?
David Stearns, Mets President of Baseball Operations, had nothing but nice things to say about Alonso on Foul Territory TV. He says he knows how well Alonso has performed in New York, and both sides are focused on the season to come, but the franchise is “invested” in keeping him for the long haul.
This sounds eerily similar to what was said about Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javy Baez leading up to the summer of 2021, and we know what happened to them. The Cubs traded all of them at the deadline to begin their teardown, which the Mets are easily in a position to do. All this is to say, do not dismiss the idea that Alonso could still make his way to Chicago.
Where And When Alonso Fits Into The Cubs Plans
In the unlikely event that the Cubs lose Bellinger, they will become desperate at first base. It is absolutely realistic to believe they would pay a premium for Alonso to bring him in as soon as possible. If the Bellinger deal does get done, don’t rule out a mid-season transaction.
Let’s say the Cubs find themselves in contention in July and presumably a power-bat away from believing. Alonso would be an obvious choice, especially if the Mets were out of the race for the NL East. But how would he fit into this lineup? The easiest solution would be rookie center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong struggling to adapt and sending him down to Iowa, putting Bellinger in center field and Alonso at first base.
But what if things are rolling for the Cubs? Crow-Armstrong could be everything we believe and more. Busch and Nick Madrigal could have third base locked down. Bellinger could be going for another MVP. Let Alonso pass if that’s all the case because we’d have to be on a 100-win pace.