Yesterday, on July 1st, the Bobby Bonilla received a check in the mail from the New York Mets. The 48 year old received $1,193,248. This is just the first of 25 checks that Bonilla will receive from the team every year on July 1st.
The story of why Bonilla is receiving checks from the Mets is fairly well known. With the 1999 season finished, Bonilla had just one year left on his deal. The Mets owed him $5.9 million.
GM Steve Phillips and owner Fred Wilpon determined that Bonilla was not worth $5.9 million. He definitely wasn’t as in 1999 he posted a horrendous -1.2 WAR.
To put that in perspective, his season was worse than Oliver Perez’s 2010 campaign when he went 0-5 with a 6.80 ERA. Perez posted a slightly better -1.1 WAR that year.
So instead of just buying out Bonilla for $5.9 million that year, the Mets got creative. The team worked out a deal with Bonilla where he would be paid the $5.9 million would be deferred and the Mets would begin to pay him in 2011. The Mets would pay him back over the course of five years.
The two sides agreed to a generous 8% interest rate at the time. As a result, the $5.9 million that the Mets owed to Bonilla will turn into $29,831,205. A 73-year-old Bonilla will receive his last check from the Mets organization in 2035.
Mets fans will unfortunately be reminded about this deal for years to come.