Mets outfielder Yoenis Céspedes spent most of the last three years on the sideline, playing in a combined 119 games in 2017-18 before missing the entire ’19 campaign. The slugger battled heel injuries and also suffered an accident on his ranch, described as a “violent fall,” that resulted in multiple ankle fractures.
Céspedes inked a four-year, $110 million contract with the Mets as a free agent in November 2016. He has one more year remaining at $29.5 million. Or had, rather. SNY’s Andy Martino reports that Céspedes and the Mets have agreed to amend the remainder of his contract. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Mets withheld part of his 2019 salary. The amended contract includes a settlement for that as well as a “significant reduction” of his 2020 salary which, all told, will save the Mets over $10 million. Per Jon Heyman, Céspedes has the opportunity to earn some of the money back through performance incentives.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that both Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association were involved in this process. It is fair to assume that, because the union was involved and Céspedes agreed to a reduction in salary, the Mets had a reasonable case against him. It sounds like they didn’t buy his “violent fall” excuse. His injury might have actually occurred while doing something that would violate the Uniform Player Contract.
It remains to be seen if Céspedes will be healthy enough for Opening Day. GM Brodie Van Wagenen said earlier this week that Céspedes began a running program. He had already been hitting and throwing. The Mets’ outfield as it stands right now will include Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, Jake Marisnick, and Michael Conforto.