Sportress of Blogitude

Mets pay Bobby Bonilla $1.19M every July 1 (and will until 2035)


For the New York Mets, presumably much to the organization’s chagrin, July 1 has become known as “Bobby Bonilla Day.”

Why? Because what began in 2011 and will continue though 2035, July 1 marks the day every year that the Mets are on the hook for a $1.19 million payment to the former slugger. The cutting of said check comes as a part of a $5.9 million contract buyout in 2000. And this payment is to a player who last played in a game 5,381 days ago.

Instead of paying Bonilla his buyout outright, the Mets came up with a convoluted agreement that attached an eight percent annual interest rate to the original $5.9 million owed to the ballplayer with the total owed amount spread out over 25 years.

Interest began to accrue in 2000 with the first of 25 installment payments coming on July 1, 2011.

All told, the arrangement increased the money owed to Bonilla from the original $5.9 million to stupefying $29.8 million. That means every July 1, the Mets cut the 53-year-old Bonilla a check in the amount of $1,193,248.20. Quite a deal for Bonilla, in most respects — he could have alternatively invested the original amount with perhaps better dividends — not so much for the Mets.

The Mets as an organization haven’t often talked about the bizarre buyout, but it merits noting that the team used the money saved by deferring it to acquire Mike Hampton, who anchored a pitching staff that helped lead the Mets to the World Series.

Perhaps the most stupefying aspect of the arrangement is that Bonilla, after all these years, remains on the Mets payroll. Even more absurd? He is the 15th highest-paid player on the team, making more than starting pitching standouts Noah Syndergaard ($535K) and Jacob deGrom ($607K).