It was the right quadriceps in 2016, the injury made most notorious because of speculation that Yoenis Cespedes may have aggravated it playing golf. The next year brought a hamstring strain, and only 81 games played. And 2018, for a time, was the worst yet: first a strained right hip flexor, then the double-heel surgery that was supposed to cost Cespedes part of 2019, too.
That’s what Cespedes’ grim baseball timeline looked like before Monday afternoon, when it got its most bizarre addition yet. The Mets slugger suffered multiple fractures to his right ankle in an accident on his ranch in Port St. Lucie, Florida, on Saturday, GM Brodie Van Wagenen said.
Cespedes was with the team in Miami the day before his injury. He called Van Wagenen with the news Saturday, and Van Wagenen went to see him the next day, which explained the GM’s sudden absence during the series in Miami. Cespedes is being evaluated at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, Van Wagenen said.
“What the player communicated to us is that he was on his ranch and he had a violent fall in which he stepped in a hole and twisted, put his leg and foot in a difficult position,” Van Wagenen said Monday.
“We’ll have more information on his prognosis and what his future is, hopefully, in the coming days, but right now, that’s the story from his standpoint, and the information that we have at this point in time. Our focus is to get him the best medical care and hopefully get a better idea for what this means for his future in 2019 and beyond.”
Cespedes has played only 119 games since he signed his four-year, $110 million contract during the 2016 offseason.
Some optimistic projections had Cespedes returning from heel surgery as early as July, but that’s been thrown out after this injury, described by Van Wagenen as “fractures” to his right ankle. He declined to say what Cespedes was doing when he hurt himself, but did say it was not baseball related, and that Cespedes did not fall off his horse.
The Mets have insurance on Cespedes, though depending on how he got hurt, he could be in violation of his contract.
Van Wagenen also could not comment yet on how it would impact Cespedes’ contract or the insurance implications. Since signing in 2016, Cespedes has missed far more games than he’s played, putting his contract in play for one of the worst in team history. That’s despite his spectacular contributions in 2015, when he was pivotal in carrying the Mets to the World Series.
Van Wagenen implied that Cespedes wasn’t that close to a return even before the fracture.
“We’ve tried not to put a timeline from the previous surgeries,” Van Wagenen said, adding he wasn’t ready to put a timeline on this one. “He was making progress, as many of you saw down in Miami, but he had a number of thresholds ahead before he was going to be able to return to activity, and it’s hard to speculate what that means.”
The two-time All-Star is signed through 2020, when he’ll turn 35 and will have not played a full season since 2015. He was in 132 games in 2016, an All-Star year, but was hampered by that nagging quad injury.
“Hard to predict what the future is,” Van Wagenen said. “We need to get more information from the doctors. Our focus right now is on the player’s health and trying to get the right answers to what procedures need to be done, if any, and what the prognosis will be coming out of this.”