New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes opted out of the 2020 season on Sunday, according to general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
Cespedes' decision was announced after Sunday's 4-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Cespedes didn't show up for the game, prompting concern for his safety after the Mets said they didn't know his whereabouts and were unsuccessful in contacting him.
Van Wagenen said after the game that he heard from Cespedes' agent in the middle of the game, and that was when he learned the 34-year-old was opting out.
Van Wagenen said Cespedes' decision was due to "COVID-related issues." He said there had been no previous conversations about Cespedes opting out.
"We support everybody and every player's right to make this type of decision. This is a challenging time for everyone," Van Wagenen told reporters. "It was surprising, without question. At the same point, we have to go forward and not allow anything to keep us from going forward."
Mets manager Luis Rojas was concerned before the game and his attempts to call and text Cespedes went without getting a response. He was stunned to learn of the opt-out decision after the game.
"I am very surprised," Rojas told reporters. "He and I have conversations regularly about playing time, where he is going to hit in the lineup, and building him up (to play) in the outfield. ... Nothing like this. This is definitely a surprise to me."
Cespedes batted .161 (5 of 31) with two homers and four RBIs in eight games this season.
He is a free agent following the season and Van Wagenen termed the situation as a "disappointing end" to Cespedes' four-year, $110 million contract.
Cespedes missed all of last season after fracturing his right ankle while working on his ranch.
The Cuba native is a two-time All-Star with a lifetime .273 batting average, 165 home runs and 528 RBIs in 834 games with the Oakland Athletics (2012-14), Boston Red Sox (2014), Detroit Tigers (2015) and Mets.
--Field Level Media