Dwight Gooden Says Mets' Yoenis Cespedes May Be 'Blackballed' for MLB Opt-Out

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2020

New York Mets' Yoenis Cespedes reacts after striking out against Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Marcus Walden in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

Former All-Star pitcher Dwight Gooden said Thursday that Yoenis Cespedes' decision to opt out of the New York Mets' 2020 season after playing eight games was a "weak move" and could lead to him getting "blackballed" in the future.

Gooden discussed the situation during an appearance on the Amazin' But True podcast (via Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post).

"He may get blackballed [in baseball] next year, and I'm OK with that," he said. "No. 1, you put yourself in that position by the stuff you're doing off the field. Now you miss two, three years when they said throughout baseball don't give this guy a contract and the Mets did it anyway, and that's the way you show them. You owe those guys. You owe your teammates, bro. That was a weak move."

Cespedes' departure was abrupt. He didn't report for an Aug. 2 game against the Atlanta Braves, and a team welfare check found his hotel room cleared of his belongings. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen said the club later received details from the outfielder's agent saying he left for "COVID-related issues."

"We support everybody and every player's right to make this type of decision. This is a challenging time for everyone," Van Wagenen said. "It was surprising, without question. At the same point, we have to go forward and not allow anything to keep us from going forward."

He also referred to the situation as a "disappointing end" to the slugger's four-year, $110 million contract with the organization.

Gooden, a member of the Mets Hall of Fame, said on the Amazin' But True podcast he's unsure whether Cespedes will generate interest as a free agent after leaving the club.

"Now with your reputation, with everything that's going on, you might get a team that will invite him to spring training," Gooden said. "I don't know. I'm not wishing bad on anybody, but that was just bad."

He added: "I can't agree with him on this move at all. That definitely wasn't about COVID. I hope I'm wrong."

The Mets are third in the NL East with a 9-12 record. They've gone 6-6 since Cespedes' exit. They are facing off with the division rival Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park this weekend. Philly took Game 1 of the series 6-5 on Friday night.