The New York Mets have been pursuing ways to create more payroll space this winter, including shopping around Jed Lowrie and Jeurys Familia with the intent of dumping their contracts. The Mets, at least for the time being, have arrived at a different solution. On Friday, the Mets reached an agreement on an amended contract with outfielder Yoenis Cespedes that will "significantly lower" his salary from $29.5 million, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. The team has since announced the agreement.
Here are the new terms of Cespedes' contract, per the Associated Press:
- 2019 salary reduced from $29 million to $22.9 million.
- Cespedes gets a $6 million base salary for 2020, but that will increase to $11 million if he doesn't start the season on the injured list with a foot or ankle injury.
- $9 million in incentives tied to plate appearances: $250,000 each for 200, 250, and 275; $500,000 each for 300, 350, 375, and 400; $750,000 each for 425, 450, and 475; and $1 million each for 525, 550, 575, and 650.
- $3.5 million in awards bonuses: $500,00 for All-Star Game selection; $750,000 for Gold Glove; $750,000 for Silver Slugger; $500,000 each for LCS and World Series MVP; $1 million for MVP win, $250,000 for second place, $100,000 for third place, $50,000 for fourth place, and $25,000 for fifth place.
- $2 million assignment bonus if traded to an American League team and $500,000 if traded to a National League team.
Both Major League Baseball and the union were involved in the process, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman. The deal stems from a grievance the team had as it pertains to how Cespedes injured himself on his ranch in May. He ended up missing the entire season as a result, with his availability for Opening Day still unknown.
Prior to the adjustment, the Mets' payroll was projected at $188 million, per Cot's Contracts, or $30 million higher than it was on Opening Day 2019. The Mets had hoped to move the contracts of Lowrie (due $11.5 million in 2019) and/or Familia (owed $11.6 million in each of the next two years) in order to create budget space, with league sources telling CBS Sports that Brodie Van Wagenen had to trim before he could make additions. In recent days, they signed a pair of free agents (Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha) to deals that guaranteed them a combined $13 million, meaning they should have $7 or so million left to play with if ownership is willing to let the front office spend the entirety of their savings.
Cespedes signed a four-year deal worth $110 million with the Mets after the 2016 season. He's dealt with injury woes throughout the life of the contract, appearing in just 119 games since. When he has played, he's been highly productive, hitting for a 132 OPS+.