The confusion surrounding Yoenis Cespedes’ decision to opt out of the 2020 season apparently extends to New York Mets players as well.
Cespedes opted out of the 2020 season on Sunday, but the story that came out was that the Mets were only informed during their game after the outfielder didn’t show up and didn’t make any contact with the organization. That’s one story the Mets have heard, but according to Brandon Nimmo, they’ve also heard that Cespedes’ agents informed the Mets of the outfielder’s intentions before the game Sunday.
Brandon Nimmo says he and his Mets teammates heard that Yoenis Céspedes' agents actually informed the Mets he was opting out before Sunday's game.
He's also heard the Mets' official story, that the team was blindsided during the game.
While the players aren’t really owed a direct explanation, it’s not a great look for them to be left unsure a day after one of the team’s key players opted out. The stories are also radically different — one makes Cespedes look bad, and one makes the Mets look incompetent.
Yoenis Cespedes’ sudden opt-out of the 2020 campaign may not actually have been all that unforeseeable to those in the New York Mets organization.
The Mets slugger unexpectedly failed to show up for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves, and the team later announced that he was opting out of the season due to coronavirus-related concerns. Joel Sherman and Mike Puma of the New York Post now report however that Cespedes had been frustrated with his playing time and had already twice confronted Mets officials in the first nine games of the season over benchings.
The report states that Cespedes’ contract, which had been restructured after his 2019 ranch accident, was heavily incentive-laden and based largely on at-bats. The 34-year-old was said to be concerned that the benchings would prevent him from reaching those performance bonuses.
Cespedes, the former All-Star, had hit .161 with two homers and four RBIs in eight games this season after heel surgeries and a broken ankle caused him to miss most of 2018 and all of 2019. He was receiving a guaranteed $6 million prorated as well as prorated incentive levels for the shortened season but will now be foregoing his remaining salary by opting out.
Van Wagenen said the Mets will support Cespedes’ decision but that the team was “without question” surprised. Cespedes obviously gave no indication that he was considering opting out prior to Sunday, as he simply did not show up to Truist Park in Atlanta. The Mets even sent security to Cespedes’ hotel room and learned that he had packed up all of his belongings and left.
When Yoenis Cespedes didn't show up today, the Mets sent security to his room. They found it empty. He had taken his belongings, just up and left, and through his agent informed the team mid-game that he was opting out, according to Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen.
Cespedes hit two home runs in eight games this season and appeared healthy coming off a broken ankle and multiple heel surgeries. Sunday was not the first time a player went missing without the Mets knowing his whereabouts, though the circumstances were much different the last time.
Yoenis Cespedes went AWOL on Sunday and did not inform the New York Mets of his whereabouts, but the team is apparently confident that there is no need to be concerned for the slugger’s health or safety.
The Mets have been given reason to believe Cespedes is safe, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports.
There is belief within the Mets organization that Cespedes is safe, but still no explanation why he didn't show up at the ballpark today.
It is unusual that the Mets know Cespedes is safe but have no idea why he did not report for Sunday’s game against the Braves, so it’s possible the team knows more than it is willing to disclose at this point.
Cespedes played both Friday and Sunday in Atlanta. The 34-year-old has two home runs in eight games this season despite coming off a fractured ankle and multiple heel surgeries.
Yoenis Cespedes was not available for the start of the New York Mets’ game against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, and the team was unable to provide an explanation as to why.
Shortly after the first pitch was thrown in the game, the Mets issued a statement saying Cespedes did not report to Truist Park in Atlanta and had not been in contact with the team. The Mets said they made unsuccessful attempts to reach him.
BREAKING: Statement from Brodie Van Wagenen – “As of game time, Yoenis Cespedes has not reported to the ballpark today. He did not reach out to management with any explanation for his absence. Our attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful.”
Cespedes played both Friday and Saturday against the Braves, so it’s unclear why he suddenly went missing. He has two home runs in eight games thus far this season and has appeared to be healthy despite coming off a fractured ankle and multiple heel surgeries.
Yoenis Cespedes’ health is the great unknown for the New York Mets after over two years out of the game, but manager Luis Rojas is sounding upbeat.
Rojas spoke about Cespedes’ progress on Friday ahead of the team’s upcoming exhibition games against the New York Yankees, scheduled for this weekend.
“We’re definitely getting more confident every time we see him out there,” said Rojas, per Tim Britton of The Athletic. He’s moving well. We’re hoping to put him in the outfield for one of the two games against the Yankees, and that will say a lot. Yankee Stadium has got a big gap, so moving around, and taking a first step off the bat, if he can play left there and get challenged, a few plays will say a lot to us.
“Every day he seems to move better,” Rojas added about Cespedes. “We’ve seen him on the bases, making turns, cutting angles. He’s done a good job. He’s done his homework as far as his progression and doing what he has to do with the performance staff.”
The 34-year-old Cespedes has not played since 2018 after undergoing surgery on both of heels, then subsequently fracturing his ankle in an accident on his ranch. Cespedes recently declared himself ready for Opening Day though.
It sounds increasingly likely that the New York Mets will have Yoenis Cespedes on the field for the first time since 2018 when the MLB season begins.
Cespedes underwent heel surgery in 2018, then hurt his ankle in embarrassing fashion when working his way back from that. On Saturday, he said he’s fully healed and is “certain” he will be ready to play on Opening Day.
Yoenis Cespedes on Opening Day: "I know for certain now that I will be ready."
There are actually several things working in Cespedes’ favor. The extended time off is one, but the universal DH is another. The Mets will, in theory, be able to avoid putting him in the field too much if they don’t want to, which could be very beneficial.