The Week That Was: The Mets Cut Ces’s Salary

    Corporations traditionally save Friday afternoon for the release of news that they would prefer not receive much scrutiny. The Mets surprised everyone when they announced Friday that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes had agreed to reduce his guaranteed base salary for 2020 from $29.5 million to $10 million. Cespedes, who has been a frequent habitue of the injury list because of a smorgasbord of ailments since the beginning of the 2017 season, is in the last year of his four-year contract.

    The reason for this roughly two-thirds in decline in his salary was because the Mets felt that he had violated the terms of his contract when he mysteriously broke both of his ankles while on his Florida ranch this past May.

    The Major League Baseball Players Association would normally fight tooth and nail to prevent a team from reducing an injured player’s compensation by even one cent. Their unwillingness to challenge the Mets’ decision indicates how a strong a case the team had to abrogate his contract.

     The details of how the home run slugger incurred those ankle injuries that required multiple surgeries was kept hush at the time of this announcement. Joel Sherman and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote that he did not fall off of a horse but may have been hurt by another animal on his ranch. Perhaps Cespedes was training for the Professional Bull Riders Monster Buck Off  that will take place at Madison Square Garden from January 3-5, 2020.

    One of the major spring training stories during 2016 was how Cespedes would drive a different sports car every day to the Mets’ Port St. Lucie complex. My guess would have been that he hurt himself while driving either motorcycle or dune buggy. With Yoenis Cespedes anything is possible since he always appears to be marching to his own drummer.

     Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was Cespedes’s agent when he worked at the Creative Artists Agency so this situation obviously placed him in an awkward situation. Cespedes should be thankful Van Wagenen is in his current position because if it was anyone else the odds are the Mets would have voided his contract.

    Van Wagenen was able to work out a face-saving deal for Cespedes because Mets CEO Fred Wilpon and his son, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, did not want to embarrass their general manager and because it would not have been in the organization’s best interests to have this storyline linger into 2020.

    One thing is certain. Yoenis Cespedes has every economic incentive in the world now to focus on getting back into playing shape as quickly as possible; have a big season; and to treat the media with more respect than he has previously displayed. The furtherance of his career depends on it.

    The Miami Dolphins were just what the New York Giants needed as Big Blue’s 38 year-old Eli Manning bested Miami’s 37 year-old signal caller, Ryan Fitzpatrick, 36-20 in the AARP Bowl Sunday.

    The win snapped the Giants’ nine-game losing streak but it may have been a pyrrhic victory as it placed the Giants in a lower position for the 2020 NFL Draft. In the NFL the better your won-loss record is the worse your draft slot is.

    The Giants gave their fans a nice halftime show by having Zachary Noah and some of the members of the cast of Broadway’s “Dear Evan Hansen” sing the showstopper “You Will Be Found.” More New York sports teams should try to get performers from the various theatrical productions around town to perform during halftimes or in the case of baseball, after the game. Broadway producers would love the opportunity to reach a new audience and it would give sports fans extra value for the  their sports ticket. It would also remind all of why New York is different from almost any other city.

   To the surprise of no one, Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow won the 2019 Heisman Trophy on Saturday night. Burrow is the key reason why the LSU Tigers are the top college football team in the nation. He is also no slouch in the classroom as he graduated college with a degree in business in three years. He chuckled when I told him that my alma mater, Columbia, could have used him.

    Burrow’s Ohio State University counterpart, QB Justin Fields, thought that it was about time that college athletes be able to make money through promotional appearances. For years, the NCAA’s draconian rules limited the earnings potentials of college athletes but now they are about to finally let athletes to make a few bucks from their skills.     

    Earlier in the week, the Ivy League equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, the Asa Bushnell Cup was presented to Yale QB Kurt Rawlings and Dartmouth linebacker Jack Traynor were named the offensive and defensive players of the year. Both players hope to be invited to take part in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in late February.

      Adam Sandler’s latest film, “Uncut Gems,” is a different kind of film for him as he plays a New York jeweler named Howie Ratner who also happens to be a compulsive gambler. Howie’s bookie, Gary, is played by recently retired WFAN afternoon drivetime host Mike Francesa who makes the most of his Damon Runyonesque cameo role. Former NBA star Kevin Garnett shows terrific acting skills in a fictionalized version of himself.

      “Uncut Gems” is an adrenaline rush from start to finish as Howie seems to go from one precarious situation to another. It is set in 2012 and it does require you to suspend some belief. For example a key scene has Sandler’s Ratner character placing a bet on a Boston Celtics playoff game at a sports book at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun. In reality, the only place that you could place a bet on a sports team in 2012 was in Nevada. Even today you still can’t place that kind of wager at Mohegan Sun although that should change soon.

     Cherry juice has many health benefits with the most notable being that it reduces any inflamation and joint point as well as helping to recover from any post-exercise cramping. At last week’s New York Produce Show held at the Javits Center Cherrish Cherry Juice Company president George Martinez told me that his company has just hired New York Yankees centerfielder Brett Gardner to serve as a spokesman.

    Gotham Greens, which was one of the pioneers of rooftop farming in New York City, had a booth at the NY Produce Show where it displayed its salad greens and pesto sauces that came from its facility in Hollis.

     Apple cider is a refreshing treat anytime but it’s especially popular during the winter. Mayer Brothers, who are based in upstate West Seneca, were a popular booth at the show as they were giving samples of its flavored apple ciders as apple-caramel, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon spice.

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