Back in May, New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes suffered a fractured ankle during an incident on his ranch. Cespedes was recovering from dual heel surgeries at the time and the new ankle injury ended his season.
Details about the ankle injury have remained a mystery -- there were rumblings Cespedes fell off a horse -- at least until now. According to Joel Sherman and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, Cespedes broke his ankle in an incident with a wild boar. Here are the details:
According to multiple people who were informed of the incident, Cespedes has traps on his ranch for a variety of reasons, including to keep boars away from people. But one boar was removed from a trap — perhaps by Cespedes — and either charged toward Cespedes or startled him, causing Cespedes to step into a hole ... Cespedes reported the injury to the Mets, including immediately that he was trying to sidestep a boar.
Sherman and Davidoff say Mets officials visited the ranch the next day and believed the wild boarr excuse. MLB and MLBPA officials visited the ranch at a later date and also confirmed the events.
The Mets stopped paying Cespedes following the injury and filed a grievance to recoup part of his 2019 salary and his 2020 salary as well.that drastically reduced his guaranteed salary and converted some salary into incentives tied to plate appearances.
Here are the details of the settlement. The bonus-laden structure indicates the two sides believe there at least some chance Cespedes will play in 2020:
- 2019 salary reduced from $29 million to $22.9 million
- 2020 salary reduced from $29.5 million to $6 million
- 2020 base salary increases to $11 million if Cespedes is not on the injured list on Opening Day
- $9 million in plate appearance incentives and $3.5 million in awards bonuses
The standard uniform player contract prohibits a wide range of non-baseball activities and it is common for large free agent contracts, such as Cespedes', to include additional prohibited activities. Sherman and Davidoff say Cespedes' contract includes language forbidding certain activities on his range.
The Mets could have sought to recoup Cespedes' entire salary through the grievance, which would have landed in front of an independent arbitrator. That the two sides settled suggests the Mets were worried there was a possibility they would get zero financial relief, and that Cespedes was worried he could lose all his salary.
New York acquired Cespedes at the 2015 trade deadline, and he helped lead the team to the National League pennant that year. The Mets re-signed Cespedes to a three-year, $75 million contract after the season, then gave him a new four-year deal worth $110 million when he opted out in 2016.
Since signing the new four-year contract, Cespedes has played in only 119 of 486 possible regular season games due to injuries. The 2020 season is the final guaranteed year on the 34-year-old's contract.