Mets star Pete Alonso May 17, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) celebrates with teammates after a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

WFAN hosts have been known to talk out both sides of their mouths. It’s the nature of the sports radio business. It happens. Even The Sports Pope himself, Mike Francesa, was known to tell his callers that he never said a particular thing that a caller pointed out that he had originally said. Then, Funhouse (BackAftaThis) on Twitter would pull up a clip of Francesa saying the very thing he said he didn’t say. We’d all have a laugh and move on with our lives.

But that was different. It was different because Francesa was a larger-than-life figure when it came to New York Sports Radio. He’d built up a different equation, and perhaps ones like Sal Licata, the co-host of the new Brandon Tierney & Sal Licata show can aspire to.

Within 24 hours, Licata embraced debate with himself, saying that All-Star first baseman Pete Alonso should be a lifelong Met in one appearance on SNY and then saying he needed to be traded the next day on WFAN. He said that he’s heard enough to know that the culture around the Mets has become “rotten,” that the team has a toxic clubhouse, Alonso is a part of it and he’s the guy who has to go.

Here are Licata’s first comments backing Alonso from an appearance on SNY’s Off Day Live on Thursday:

“There’s no way they can trade Alonso. Maybe the reason they had him on the [trading] block was to see what type of young pitching they could get back for him, but even then, they’d be idiots to trade Alonso. The guy has consistent power, which is something that’s impossible to find. Look across the sport, nobody in Mets’ history has had four straight seasons with 35 or more home runs. Nobody has had more home runs since Pete Alonso has come into the league in 2019 than him. I mean, I’m not saying he’s gonna be the first baseman long-term and I’m not saying you got to pay him whatever he wants. If I’m Alonso, I’m close enough to where I’m playing this out in free agency and maybe it goes the way that it did with Brandon Nimmo. The Mets should let him go to free agency too, all right. See what you do with free agency, go out there, test the market, come back to us and if it’s the right price, we’ll do it. It’s got to be something around $200 million, similar to what [Atlanta Braves first baseman] Matt Olson got. But Pete Alonso has to be a lifelong Met. I don’t understand how if they lose him, trade, free agency, how you could ever replace that.”

Licata then greatly changed his tune during his WFAN show on Friday, less than 24 hours later. Apparently in that time he had an epiphany that he had to pursue the real truth in regards to Pete Alonso. The answer was apparently that Alonso was to blame for the Mets’ “toxic clubhouse.” Via Audcacy:

“What exactly is going on? Why would Pete Alonso’s name be put out there on trade lists or potential trade rumors? So I did some thinking, and then I did some research, did a little homework, talked to some people, and the ultimate problem, and this has been talked about too through the course of the year, the Mets have a toxic clubhouse. And Pete Alonso is part of that.”

If there are any issues in the Mets’ clubhouse, they’ve been unheard of to this point, besides Licata venturing into the abyss on Friday. We already know that no matter who owns the team, the Mets don’t exactly run a tight ship in terms of what gets leaked out to the media. But we’re to believe that a so-called “toxic” clubhouse culture with Alonso as its ringleader is somehow being revealed overnight after a couple quick phone calls by Sal Licata?

Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, David Roberston, Tommy Pham, Mark Canha and others could’ve wasted no opportunity to take a dump on the team’s culture after the MLB Trade Deadline earlier this month. And guess what, none of them did. Maybe Alonso doesn’t end up re-signing in New York. Maybe he does. But if it really was that big of an issue, this wouldn’t be the first time we’d be hearing of it, the day after the same radio host said that Alonso has to be a “lifelong Met.”

Here’s some more of what he had to say on the airwaves Friday about Alonso:

“They need to make a decision on what to do as far as that core goes. Nimmo isn’t going anywhere. He’s here. The core with [Francisco] Lindor, [Jeff] McNeil, Alonso—and McNeil can go any way. He’s insignificant. So that leaves Lindor and Alonso.

“Alonso is the guy who has to go. It pains me to say that Alonso, a guy who all he does is play and produce…it’s not that the Mets can’t afford Pete Alonso, and it’s not like they don’t love his production, because they know what he provides. So what is it, exactly? Something is off, an Alonso has to be the one if you’re looking to change something. If you’re looking to change the look of this team, culture is not something that can be bought.”

“Why did they fail so miserably? It’s because you have a bunch of selfish individuals not playing as a team. And unfortunately, Alonso is part of that.

“Put it this way: I’ve done my homework, and I know there are issues in that clubhouse. That’s a fact. They know something. They know the clubhouse was a major problem….that’s the reason Pete Alonso was made available. That’s the reason the Mets need a significant change in that clubhouse and their culture. It’s just not working. It’s become a toxic environment there.”

Yeah, something doesn’t add up here. Licata’s co-host, Brandon Tierney, tried to back up the claim by saying that he personally identified chemistry issues within the Mets clubhouse months ago and floated the possibility of an Alonso trade last month.

The 2023 version of the New York Mets is certainly not a perfectly constructed bunch, and yeah there may very well be issues in the clubhouse, but this one doesn’t pass the smell test.

[SNY, Audcacy]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.