It may sound hard to believe, but the Mets’s laughable 25-4 loss to close out July may be the second most embarrassing thing to happen to the beleaguered franchise this year. What’s the first? Something that will haunt the franchise until 2035.
“Good things come to those who wait, and I’m gonna be very patient.” So said Bobby Bonilla, a man who negotiated one of the all-time great contracts in baseball history. Great for him, that is, and not his former team. For the better part of three decades, the New York Mets have been the poster child for questionable decisions. From getting caught up in the Bernie Madoff scandal to letting Matt Harvey stay on to pitch the 9th in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series (He had already thrown over 100 pitches! He was done for! Yes, I’m still getting over this one!).
The New York Mets have put themselves and their long-suffering fan base through the ringer time and time again, but one decision is so bad it’s become a holiday. Each July 1, aka Bobby Bonilla Day, commemorates the day in which the New York Mets have to pay the former outfielder $1.19 million. That may not seem like a lot of money for an athlete of today, but Bonilla is an athlete of yesterday. The man has not played a game since 2001. And the most shocking thing of all is that the Mets will have to pay Bonilla $1.19 million every year until 2035.
How did this happen? In 1999, Bonilla signed a deferred contract with the Mets. The $5.9 million owed for one year would turn into — with interest — $30 million paid by 2035. So, why would the Mets do such a thing? Stupidity? Maybe, maybe not. Deferring money on contracts is something teams actually do from time to time. Instead of paying a player now, they opt to pay later so that they can do something more constructive with it or what they deem to be more constructive. So there you have it. Bobby Bonilla, a man who has not played for the Mets for 19 years, will make a little over $1 million each year for the next 17 years.
So how is this deal working out for the former slugger? As his former agent Dennis Gilbert told Yahoo Finance, “Bobby is a gem of a person, and he’s happy with the deal, so I’m happy with the deal.”
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