Starting Today, The Mets Have To Make Ridiculous Yearly Payments To Someone Who Doesn’t Play Baseball Anymore
Dan Fogarty 06:29 pm, July 01st, 2011
Today, the New York Mets gave Bobby Bonilla, a man who last played for them in 1999 and who will never play another baseball game in his life, a check for $1,193,248.20. They will do this annually, until the year 2035, when it's entirely possible that you'll be watching baseball games that are streamed directly into your brain. Bonilla will be 71 by then.
So why is a professional baseball team paying a guy who doesn't play professional baseball $1.19 million over the next 24 years? Because they wanted to get rid of him so bad in 1999, that they made the terrible, terrible decision to defer payments on the $5.9 million remaining on his contract. With interest.
By postponing their payments to Mr. Bonilla for 11 years, the Mets freed enough money to trade for starting pitcher Mike Hampton and outfielder Derek Bell and sign first baseman Todd Zeile. Those three players earned a combined $15.1 million in 2000, and the Mets reached the World Series that year for the first time since 1986.
But the team has reached the postseason only once since, and it can be argued that the short-term gain of the arrangement with Mr. Bonilla wasn't worth the long-term cost. Because the Mets are repaying him with interest, Mr. Bonilla will earn $29,831,205 between 2011 and 2035—more than he earned in his first contract with the Mets.
The man who Bonilla and his agent negotiated against, the Mets' then-general manager Steve Phillips, couldn't be reached for comment when the Wall Street Journal tried to get in touch with him. Phillips, of course, would move on to ESPN, where nothing important happened.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Betting Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.