Yes, you read that right. Every time we think the Mets can’t outdo themselves in feats of absurdity, they do so. More than seven months after news broke that Yoenis Cespedes suffered an ankle fracture after a “violent fall” at his Florida ranch, we have finally learned the details behind the incident, which were shrouded in mystery through a resettlement process that resulted in a significant reduction in Cespedes’ base pay for 2019 and 2020.
At the time of the incident, reports immediately surfaced that the injury was not horse-related, which certainly raised more questions than it answered. Now we know the injury came at the hands of a far more unlikely beast: a wild boar. According to a report from Joel Sherman, Ken Davidoff, and Mike Puma of the New York Post, the boar was released from a trap on the ranch and either charged at or otherwise startled Cespedes, causing him to step backwards into a hole, fracturing his ankle.
The Post report also reveals that the Mets were considering an attempt to void Cespedes’ contract, at which point the the Commissioners Office and Players Association became involved. However, all parties—Cespedes’ representatives, Mets officials, and Commissioners Office and the Players Association officials—visited the ranch at various points and agreed on the overall chain of events. While the facts of the incident are now known, what remains a matter of subjective debate is whether Cespedes side-stepping a boar while protecting his property qualifies as a risky activity, constituting a contract violation. But instead of going to an arbitrator, a compromise was reached in which Cespedes received $22.8 million of his $29 million 2019 salary and will have his base pay slashed to $6 million in 2020, with the ability to earn up to $11 million, depending on how long he is on the active roster, with additional incentives for number of plate appearances.
In the storied history of things that have caused us to shake our heads and mutter “peak Mets,” this has to be near the top of the list. Taxi accident? Hold our boar—I mean, beer. Of all the ways this story could have ended, this is beyond the imagination of even the most creative Mets fan. But it’s also as Cespedes-like as anyone could have imagined—a tale befitting of his larger-than-life persona, which we can only hope to see grace the batter’s box again in 2020. And if we do, I hope he brings a wild boar with him to spring training.