When Yoenis Cespedes ghosted the Mets on Sunday as part of his abrupt decision to opt out of the 2020 season, there were two different stories floating around the Mets clubhouse.
The first story, according to Brandon Nimmo, details that Cespedes or his agent let the Mets know Sunday morning that he was opting out. The second story mimics that of Mets management; general manager Brodie Van Wagenen did not find out until the eighth inning of Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the Braves.
Nimmo is not sure which story he should trust.
“I honestly don’t know which one to believe and I’m not going to try and figure that one out,” Nimmo said. “Once we found out that he was gone, that’s really the last that we (the players) talked about it until a couple of hours after the game. We were just like, ‘Well, he’s probably on his ranch now or something.’”
Nimmo knew Cespedes wasn’t included in Sunday’s lineup and he noticed the slugger wasn’t around the clubhouse during pregame warmups. About halfway through the game, he asked Michael Conforto about Cespedes.
“I just asked Mike, ‘Is Ces gone?’ He said, ‘Yep.’ And that was the end of the conversation,” Nimmo said. “I wasn’t worried about his health because I knew this was a possibility that he could just walk away. So I was pretty sure that he was taken care of; I had just seen him yesterday. But yeah, that’s how I found out.”
Mets manager Luis Rojas said he first learned his star slugger opted out of the season after the final out Sunday. He was “very surprised” with Cespedes’ decision as, according to the skipper, the last time they spoke Saturday the conversation centered around the slugger’s increased playing time in left field.
Van Wagenen alerted the media during the first inning Sunday that Cespedes did not show up to Truist Park in Atlanta and was not responding to the team’s attempts to contact him. The GM said the team sent security to Cespedes’ hotel room after informing the media of his no-show. There, his belongings were gone, as was Cespedes. This gave the Mets reason to believe his safety was not at risk.
Moments later, sometime toward the end of Sunday’s game, Van Wagenen learned from Cespedes’ agent that the slugger opted out, according to the timeline of events provided by the GM.
“I didn’t know it was going on and I saw the news and I was a little confused,” said Pete Alonso. “I was kind of caught off guard, but it’s his choice and I respect it.”
While the Mets maintain they were essentially blindsided by the slugger’s decision, Nimmo was asked whether he had an inkling that Cespedes was previously considering not playing this year.
“I had only heard rumors,” Nimmo said. “I hadn’t talked to Ces personally. But other than that, I wasn’t extremely surprised mid-game when I asked Mike. I just was like, ‘Alright. We got a game to focus on so we might as well just try and win this one.’”
Miscommunication theories aside, the Mets (3-7) will march on and attempt to snap out of their five-game losing streak without Cespedes. Regardless of discrepancies on who delivered the opt-out news and at what time of the day, the slugger left his teammates and manager in the dark. But his teammates do not fault him for that, especially if Cespedes opted out of the season for “COVID-related reasons,” which is what Van Wagenen announced.
Cespedes will be missed by his teammates for his presence at the plate and insight on the game.
“I think he just felt like it was his time to go,” Nimmo said. “Ces has always been great to me and been great to the other teammates. Ces is his own person and makes his own decisions and we’re not going to fault him for that. If he felt it was time to go and he didn’t want to spend any more time around here, then I don’t fault him for that.”
©2020 New York Daily News
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com» data-reactid=»33″>Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com