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New York Mets and Yoenis Cespedes Settle Grievance

The New York Mets and Yoenis Cespedes have settled their injury grievance, agreeing to reduce Cespedes’ salary for the 2020 season.

In December of 2016, the New York Mets and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes agreed to a four-year, $110 million. The contract stands as the fifth largest in Mets history behind David Wright, Jacob deGrom, Johan Santana, and current manager Carlos Beltran.

Cespedes immediately lived up to the hype, posting .280/.354/.530 in 543 plate appearances during the 2016 campaign. Cespedes’ performance slowly declined in 2017 and 2018, before ultimately not playing in 2019 due to multiple injuries (some of which were suffered off the playing field).

Cespedes suffered an injury last May on his Florida ranch, in what could only be described as a “violent fall” by Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

Not many people in the industry know Cespedes better than Van Wagenen who was his agent with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) when Cespedes’ contract was negotiated in 2016. Van Wagenen, in his current role with the Mets, now seeks to recover some of what was owed to his former client in order to help his employer.

Article XI of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) governs grievance procedures. Section D of Article XI governs grievances grievance procedures filed by the Club against a Player.

The Club must notify the Player within 45 days of obtaining knowledge of the facts giving rise to the grievance or within 45 days in which the facts should have been known by the Club. The Player has 10 days to respond to the Club and if he does not, the matter will be considered settled.

However, if the Player furnishes a response, the case will advance through the grievance procedures established by the CBA.

Cespedes has the right to appeal the decision to reduce his 2020 salary, although this will likely not occur as the two sides have already agreed to new contract figures.

Van Wagenen has been inconsistent as it relates to Cespedes’ status for the 2020 season but his knowledge of the CBA and expertise in dealing with players surely had an impact in recovering some salary from Cespedes and creating more operating room to continue to improve the Mets roster in 2020.