Sports | August 2, 2020 5:11 pm

Yoenis Cespedes Opting Out of Rest of 2020 Season

Cespedes was a no-show for the Mets game earlier today

MLB: JUL 31 Mets at Braves
New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes looks on from the dugout during the game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves on July 31st, 2020 at Truist Park in Atlanta, GA.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Earlier today came the news that the New York Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes was a no-show for this afternoon’s Mets/Braves game. Over the course of several hours, sports reporters and Mets fans tried to determine what had happened. Was this a harbinger of more alarming news to come? Was Cespedes simply feeling unwell? Or had he decided to go completely missing?

After the initial reports broke, reporter Ken Rosenthal appeared on Twitter with the news that the Mets did not believe that Cespedes’s safety was at risk. That was an encouraging piece of information, but it also suggested that there was more to this story than what was currently being made public. A few hours later came, a fuller version of the story emerged: Yoenis Cespedes didn’t show up to play today because he has decided to opt out of the rest of this year’s MLB season.

This information comes from ESPN, and their source for it is someone who would know: Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. According to the report, Van Wagenen learned that Cespedes would not be returning for the rest of the season partway through Sunday’s game. The news came via Cespedes’s agent — and it prompted the team to confirm his departure.

Van Wagenen said he learned of Cespedes’ decision from his agent during Sunday’s game. When the team sent security to Cespedes’ hotel room, he was not there and his belongings were gone, Van Wagenen said.

At a time when Major League Baseball has encountered ongoing issues with COVID-19, it’s not surprising to see an athlete concerned about their health deciding to wait for the pandemic to be under control before proceeding. It’s a decision athletes in other sports have also made, and while the abruptness of Cespedes’s departure is surprising, the thinking behind it is eminently understandable.

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