When the Mets announced in May that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes had broken his right ankle during a "violent fall" at his Florida ranch in May, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen insisted that his immediate focus was on the health of his player ,
"We haven't even thought about the impact on the contract," said Van Wagenen during a press conference at Citi Field.
However, the contract should always be tackled. On Friday, the team and Cespedes agreed on a changed deal, according to several media reports. Cespedes, who will remain under contract and paid $ 29.5 million in the last year of his contract, is said to have agreed to a significant reduction in his salary. ESPN reported that the Mets will save more than $ 10 million.
Cespedes, who has not participated in a game since July 2018 due to multiple injuries and who was rehabilitated from surgery after he fell on both heels, also received performance-based incentives.
Nobody knew the contract better than Van Wagenen. He was the one who negotiated it after the 2016 season when he was Cespedes' agent and secured his client a $ 110 million four-year extension. Van Wagenen switched sides of the negotiating table in November 2018 when he became the managing director of Mets.
The status of Cespedes for 2020 remains unknown. The Mets hesitated to present a schedule for a possible return from Cespedes. At the winter meetings of M.L.B. in San Diego earlier this week, Van Wagenen told reporters that Cespedes had been swinging the club for several weeks and had also started his running program.
The Mets missed Cespedes & # 39; Power in the lineup. After the Detroit Tigers bought Cespedes shortly before close of trading in 2015, it showed its full potential with high-performance displays from the batter box when the Mets entered the World Series in autumn and lost to the Royals.
The Mets then signed a three-year contract for $ 75 million with Cespedes. Van Wagenen and the Mets returned to the negotiating table the next off-season when Cespedes withdrew from his contract after a season in which he averaged 0.280, 31 home runs and 86 runs.
But he's struggled to stay on the field in recent years. In 2017, he missed games because of hamstring and quadriceps complaints. In 2018, he suffered from a strain on his right hip and was added to the list of disabled people on May 14. His rehabilitation was hampered by a setback during a minor league game, and the team announced that his July season ended due to calcification and bone cracks both heels. Even before falling on his ranch, Cespedes should miss most of the 2019 season.
Cespedes was a colorful encounter on and off the field. When Van Wagenen announced that Cespedes had fallen on his ranch, a reporter asked if Cespedes, who had once ridden a horse into the team's parking lot during spring training, fell from a horse. Van Wagenen replied that Cespedes had said he didn't ride a horse at the time of autumn.
The Mets have failed in the past three seasons, and manager Mickey Callaway was fired in October for not having contested the postseason. Carlos Beltran, the new manager of Mets, was optimistic to include Cespedes in his lineup this year.
"When he's in top form, he's an impressive performer," said Van Wagenen this week. "We'll have to see how that works."