Yoenis Cespedes’ sudden opt out of the 2020 campaign might not actually have been all that unforeseeable to those in the New York Mets organization.
The slugger unexpectedly failed to show up for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves, and the Mets 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 RBI 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.
Earlier in the day, there was concern for Cespedes’ well-being, but it turns out this may be more of a case of some drama and frustration boiling over.