Yoenis Cespedes recently agreed to a huge pay cut to settle a contract dispute with the Mets. But the mending slugger is apparently ready to swing for the fences in 2020 to get his next contract.
“I have spoken to Yoenis and he’s hungry,” MLB analyst and one-time Mets managerial candidate Eduardo Perez said on Thursday on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM. “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.”
The Mets would take half that from Cespedes, who agreed to reduce his 2020 salary from $29.5 million to about $10 million (with performance-based incentives that will give him the opportunity to earn back some of the rest). He also took a cut in his 2019 salary from $29 million to $14.8 million.
Cespedes, 34, hasn’t played since July 2018 because of multiple surgeries. Originally expected to miss most of 2019 after right heel surgery in August 2018 and left heel surgery in October 2018, he suffered multiple fractures to his right ankle in an accident at his Florida ranch this past May.
The contract restructuring was a product of the Mets taking issue with Cespedes suffering a non-baseball injury. It was approved by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.
Cespedes is in the final year of what was originally a four-year, $110-million contract. The Mets are hoping Cespedes will be healthy enough to play starting in spring training in February – either for them or perhaps another club.
MLB.com reported on Thursday that “multiple teams” have inquired about trading for Cespedes since the Mets announced the contract restructuring. Cespedes, who has a no-trade clause, could interest an American League team, and he might be interested in trying to top his career high in home runs (35 with the Tigers and Mets in 2015) somewhere other than Citi Field.