Yoenis Cespedes Agrees To Restructure Contract With Mets

34-Year-Old Was Facing Possibility Team Could Void His Deal

Alex Greenberg
December 13, 2019 - 4:45 pm

It’s tough to predict what will happen with Yoenis Cespedes in 2020.

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Cespedes hasn’t played for the Mets since July of 2018. Since then, the outfielder has been unavailable due to a variety of unfortunate injuries. Most recently, he was ruled out for all of last season after breaking an ankle while he was already recovering from surgery on both of his heels.

In response to all that missed time, the Mets and Cespedes have reportedly agreed to rework their contract together. The new arrangement will “significantly” lower Cespedes’ salary from the $29.5 million he was set to make in 2020, multiple reports said. According to the New York Post's Joel Sherman, Cespedes will earn less than $10 million next season. The Associated Press also reported the Mets withheld just over half of his $29 million salary for 2019.

The amended contract is part of a grievance settlement. Cespedes had been facing the possibility of the Mets trying to void his contract. 

According to WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman, a "good part" of Cespedes' guaranteed money was shifted to performance bonuses and awards bonuses.

Next year will be the final year of the four-year, $110 million deal the Cuban first signed with the franchise back in November 2016. In 2017, his season ended due to injury in August. In 2018, he went down in July. In 2019, he wasn’t healthy for any part of spring training or the regular season.

Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes bats at Citi Field on Aug. 11, 2017.
Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Images

According to multiple reports, this restructuring does have to do with the infamous injury he suffered during a fall on his Florida ranch in May. Cespedes told the Mets he hurt himself when his leg twisted after stepping in a hole, but it’s clear the organization wasn’t happy about the way that mysterious injury happened. Sherman also reports that Major League Baseball and the MLB Player’s Union were also involved with this resolution.

Video had surfaced recently of Cespedes taking batting practice, and Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen confirmed on Monday that the 34-year-old has indeed resumed baseball activities. Still, Van Wagenen didn’t sound certain that Cespedes would be back for next season.

“He has resumed baseball activities," Van Wagenen said. "He’s been swinging the bat now for several weeks, and we’re hoping that he can continue his progression and hopefully make progress as we head toward spring training. ... If he’s at his best, he’s a high-impact performer. We’ll have to see how that plays out.”

Cespedes would certainly be of use in the outfield if he can return to good health and good productivity, but the Mets have been able to protect themselves a bit here for the very possible scenario where injuries keep him away from the field again.

MLB.com's Anthony DiComo adds that despite all this, the Mets still intend for Cespedes to play in 2020.