Okay, lets get weird.
So back in 2018, Yoenis Cespedes underwent surgery on both of his heels. Those injuries were not in any way mysterious and he was expected to miss 8-10 months or so as he recovered from that surgery which, since that surgery happened in July 2018, likely meant that he was going to miss the beginning of the 2019 season.
Flash forward to May 2019. It was announced that Cespedes had fractured his ankle at his ranch while he was recovering and that the injury could cost him the entire 2019 season (it did). This injury got the Mets’ attention because Cespedes was supposed to be coming back to their lineup soon. Moreover, the circumstances surrounding the injury and how it occurred triggered a series of events where the Mets were attempting to withhold Cespedes’ salary and potentially even void his contract altogether.
That leads us to the news today.
Yoenis Cespedes and the New York Mets have agreed on an amended contract, a source tells ESPN. While he remains with the team, the settlement significantly lower his salary from the planned $29.5 million.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 13, 2019
The amended contract of Yoenis Cespedes, which @martinonyc first reported, includes a settlement for salaries that the Mets withheld in 2019 as well as a significant reduction of his 2020 salary. Mets will save well over $10 million as part of the settlement, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 13, 2019
From how everything sounds, it looks like the Mets had a legitimate gripe with Cespedes. When the MLBPA doesn’t immediately cry foul at a team leveraging an injury to get a player to take less money, there is probably some cause for concern. For the Mets, this allows them to save some money and keep Cespedes around in the case that he is still a productive player once he is recovered from the ankle injury.
As for Cespedes, this allows him to hang on to some of the guaranteed money that he was owed and stay under contract. There was a very real risk that the Mets could have successfully voided his contract and, with the alleged dishonesty and the injury history, Cespedes could have had a tough time getting a contract similar to what he currently enjoys with the Mets even after the settlement.
As for what exactly happened, Jeff Passan had a short synopsis that probably explains it best.
TL;DR version: Yoenis Cespedes got injured. He said he stepped in a hole. There was reason to believe that wasn’t the case. Mets withheld salary in 2019, threatened to do same in 2020. Rather than go to a potentially all-or-nothing grievance, Cespedes settled for reduced salary.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 13, 2019
So there you have it. For the moment, Cespedes is still a Met and it sounds like the parties reached an agreement that puts this issue behind everyone....for the most part. The next step is to see what sort of player Yoenis is once he gets back on the field.