Even matters off the field are going horribly wrong for the 2019 New York Mets.
It’s been a nightmarish eight weeks for an organization that has made the dysfunctional mundane over the decades under the Wilpon family. Speculation surrounding manager Mickey Callaway’s job security continues to swirl despite general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s unconvincing vote of confidence on Monday night.
Callaway’s status was quickly overshadowed during that press conference at Citi Field when Van Wagenen announced that star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes suffered a violent fall at his ranch in Florida. He suffered fractures in his ankle and will likely miss the season.
Cespedes — who was recovering from multiple surgeries to remove calcification in his heels — was expected to return in a best-case-scenario by August, providing the Mets with a trade-deadline acquisition without actually going out on the market and making a big splash.
Since signing a four-year, $110 million contract to stay with the Mets after a magical half-season in 2015, Cespedes has appeared in a combined 251 games over the past three seasons. That included 81 in 2017 and just 38 last year due to hamstring and quad issues before the heel calcification surgeries.
Mark this down as another reason why the Wilpons are hesitant to spend a lot of money and big names.
There is a chance though that the Mets can get out of the poisonous Cespedes deal. He is owed $29 million this season and $29.5 million in 2020 before hitting free agency.
In every MLB contract, there are prohibited activities listed that players are not allowed to do in an attempt to limit the chances of freak injuries.
This is known as the “Lonborg Clause,” after Boston Red Sox star pitcher Jim Lonborg blew out his knee while skiing in December 1967 just a few months after winning the American League Cy Young Award. The Yankees took advantage of this back in 2003 when current manager Aaron Boone tore his ACL while playing pick-up basketball. It allowed the team to go out and sign Alex Rodriguez.
If the Mets believe that Cespedes was partaking in unnecessary activities while recovering from his surgery at his ran, they could try to convert his remaining salary from guaranteed money to non-guaranteed.
They simply cannot void the contract, however.
The specifics of Cespedes’ fall have not been disclosed as of yet, which will delay any kind of case the Mets could be looking to build against the 33-year-old.