Yoenis Céspedes’ base salary next year was cut to $6 million from its original $29.5 million as part of an amended contract with the New York Mets that avoided a grievance hearing, according to details obtained by The Associated Press.
The oft-injured outfielder, however, would raise his pay to $20 million if he has 650 plate appearances.
Céspedes agreed to a $110 million, four-year contract in December 2016 but could lose as much at $29.6 million under the amended deal. He hasn’t played since July 20, 2018, and has topped 321 plate appearances just once since 2015.
Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, Céspedes’ former agent, said in May the outfielder sustained multiple right ankle fractures in an accident at Céspedes’ ranch in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where the club’s spring training complex is located.
New York withheld part of Céspedes’ salary, alleging he was hurt during an activity prohibited by his contract’s guarantee language. The players’ association filed a grievance, and the sides settled on an amended contract before the case was argued.
As part of the new deal agreed to Dec. 13, Céspedes’ 2019 pay was cut from $29 million to $22.9 million. Information sent to teams this year listed his pay as $14.8 million, so the amended contract appears to indicate he is receiving about $8 million more for this year than the Mets originally paid.
If Céspedes doesn’t start next season on the injured list because of a right foot or ankle injury tied to his May 18 injury, his base salary would escalate to $11 million. His base pay would rise to $11 million as soon as he is on the active roster or on the IL for a non-related injury.
A two-time All-Star, the 34-year-old won a Gold Glove in 2015 and a Silver Slugger the following year. He has played in only 119 games in the first three seasons of the contract, just 38 since the end of the 2017 season.
He was out between April 27 and June 10 in 2017 with a strained left hamstring, then did not play after Aug. 25 because of a strained right hamstring. He was sidelined between May 13 and July 20 in 2018 by a strained right hip flexor, homered at Yankee Stadium in his return, then went back on the DL.
He had surgery to remove bone calcification from his right heel on Aug. 2, 2018, and his left that Oct. 26. Minor league instructor and former Mets player Endy Chavez posted and then deleted video on Nov. 19 of Céspedes taking swings.
Next season, Céspedes can earn $9 million based on plate appearances: $250,000 each for 200, 250 and 275; $500,000 apiece for 300, 350, 375 and 400; $750,000 each for 425, 450 and 475; and $1 million apiece for 525, 550, 575 and 650