Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes’ base salary in 2020 was cut to $6 million from its original $29.5 million as part of an amended contract with the club that avoided a grievance hearing, according to details obtained by The Associated Press.
Cespedes, however, would raise his pay to $11 million if he has one active day on the major- league roster and to $20 million if he has 650 plate appearances.
The agreement on the amended contract was a product of the Mets taking issue with Cespedes suffering a non-baseball injury. He suffered multiple fractures to his right ankle in an accident on his ranch in Port St. Lucie, Florida, in May, which sidelined him for the entire 2019 season. He already was expected to miss part of that season after having double-heel surgery in 2018.
The Mets withheld part of Cespedes’ salary, alleging he was hurt during an activity prohibited by his contract’s guarantee language. The players association filed a grievance, and the sides settled on an amended contract before the case was argued.
If Cespedes doesn’t start the season on the injured list because of a right foot or ankle injury tied to his May 18 injury, his base salary will escalate to $11 million. His base pay would rise to $11 million as soon as he is on the active roster or on the injured list for a non-related injury.
Cespedes, 34, is in the final year of a four-year deal worth $110 million that he signed after the 2016 season.
He hasn’t played since July 20, 2018, and has topped 321 plate appearances just once since 2015.
One-time Mets managerial candidate Eduardo Perez said Thursday on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM that he has spoken to Cespedes and that “he’s hungry. He said, ‘I’m ready and I’m going to go out with a bang this year and I’m not just going to hit 40 home runs. I’ll be out there for 140-plus games.’ He told me he could hit 52.”
Cespedes last played at least 140 games in 2015, when he started the season with the Tigers and was traded to the Mets. He has never hit more than 35 home runs in a season in his career.