Pete Alonso’s theory that Major League Baseball is juicing or deadening baseballs based on the strength of a specific year’s free-agent class, was not echoed by the team’s acting general manager.
In fact, Zack Scott scoffed at the notion somewhat.
“I didn’t know Pete was a conspiracy theorist,” he said with a laugh before the Mets hosted the Padres at Citi Field on Friday night. “It’s interesting to learn that.”
On Wednesday, Alonso said the sport doesn’t need to crack down on pitcher’s using sticky substances and instead should focus on the state of the baseballs being used.
Alonso pointed to 2019, when there was a large crop of pitchers set to be free agents following that season and a new record for home runs was set. This year, with a number of top shortstops ready to hit the market, offense is way down. In February, teams were informed that balls were going to be slightly deadened. In 2019, 3.6 percent of plate appearances resulted in homers. That percentage is down to 3.1 this year.
“The biggest concern is MLB manipulates the baseball year in and year out depending on free-agency class, or guys being in an advanced part of their arbitration,” Alonso had said.
When he was asked if that is something players talk about or believe, Alonso said: “Oh no, that’s a fact.”
Scott clearly disagreed with his star player, saying changes made to the ball would not impact how much money free agents receive, and breaking with Alonso on the notion.
“I don’t believe that’s the case, I don’t believe Major League Baseball is trying to [hurt] some members of the players association at a disadvantage,” Scott said. “If you’re doing that, you’re also helping some other players. You can’t do one without the other.
“The way teams value and evaluate performance is relative to levels, so we’re not going to be fooled by offense is way up or way down. We’re going to look at players relative to how the league is playing. So it would have no influence on how players are valued or paid.”