New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has elected to exercise his option to opt out of the 2020 season, per reports. The 34 year old Cespedes had appeared in 8 games for the Mets this season, and had posted a 622 OPS.
This would appear to be the final chapter of what has been an up-and-down relationship between Cespedes and the Mets. The Mets acquired Cespedes on July 31, 2015, from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa. It was the one year anniversary of Cespedes being dealt by the Oakland A’s to the Boston Red Sox, along with a competitive balance pick, for Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes and cash. Boston then moved Cespedes that offseason to Detroit for Rick Porcello.
Cespedes put up a 942 OPS in the final two months of 2015, helping lead the Mets to the World Series, where they fell to the Kansas City Royals. Cespedes was a free agent after the season, and re-signed with the Mets on a 3 year, $75M deal that would allow him to opt out after earning $27.5 million in the first year of the deal.
Cespedes put up an 884 OPS for the Mets, who lost the Wild Card Game to the San Francisco Giants, and then did opt out. Cespedes and the Mets then agreed to a four year, $110 million deal.
Cespedes missed half of 2017, most of 2018 and all of 2019, however. He had heel surgery in 2018, and while recuperating, suffered a fractured ankle on his ranch that cost him the 2019 season. Cespedes and the Mets agreed to restructure his contract for 2020 to settle disputes over whether the Mets were obliged to pay him when he was missing time due to off-field injuries.
Today, the Mets initially announced that Cespedes had not appeared at the ballpark, and the team didn’t know his whereabouts. There were then subsequent reports that the team had learned that there was reason to believe he was safe. Mets g.m. Brodie Van Wagenen said this afternoon that the team sent security to the hotel to check on Cespedes, and discovered the room empty, with Cespedes having packed his stuff and left. His agent then informed the team later in the day that Cespedes was exercising his right to opt out of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cespedes will be a free agent after the season.