New York Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes did not report to the ballpark on Sunday and has ultimately decided to opt out of the 2020 season.
The team did not learn of his decision until some point during Sunday's 4-0 loss to the Braves at Truist Park.
Shortly after the game began, the Mets released a statement from general manager Brodie Van Wagenen that Cespedes failed to arrive at Truist Park or notify the team of his absence. Attempts to reach the Mets slugger were "unsuccessful."
The statement created speculation regarding Cespedes' safety, which the Mets later confirmed was not at risk.
Following the game, Van Wagenen addressed the situation, which he said it was not a decision the team was expecting.
"We support everybody and every players’ right to make this type of decision," he said. "It's surprising without question. At same point, we have to go forward … the key takeaways are we're glad he’s OK. There was a period of time we weren’t sure. We support his decision going forward."
Manager Luis Rojas, who added he was "very suprised," said he had attempted to call and text Cespedes prior to first pitch and did not learn of his decision until after the game.
Van Wagenen said that they were not aware of Cespedes' safety at the time of the first statement, but had sent security to his hotel room which was empty with his belongings packed.
"Any time player is not on site want to make sure check into it and make sure first and foremost he is OK," Van Wagenen said.
The 34-year-old Cespedes struggled in eight games for the Mets this season after missing all of last year and most of the 2018 season due to injuries. He has just five hits – including two home runs – four RBI and 15 strikeouts in 31 at-bats this season.
The Mets had traded for Cespedes at the 2015 trade deadline, which helped propel them to the National League pennant that season.
Cespedes' decision to opt out marks the end of his four-year, $110 million he signed with the Mets in 2016 -- negotiated by Van Wagenen as his agent -- but injuries plagued his entire contract and he never played to the level he was prior to signing the contract.
"It’s disappointing. Disappointing for fans, my vantage point prior to this job," he said. "Everyone enjoyed watching him play when he’s at his best. There was optimism for his return, rehab, and just a disappointing end to his four-year agreement with the Mets."