New York Knows Bobby Bonilla Day! Who Else Gets Paid Like Him?
He hasn't played for the New York Mets since 1999. Yet, he will make more this season than Mets starting pitcher David Peterson. This is a story that stems from greed. At the time, Mets ownership, led by Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, were invested with their close friend Bernie Madoff. Things were great with Fred and Saul basking in fabricated double-digit returns. So, they made a historically laughable agreement when they wanted to jettison Bobby Bonilla prior to the 2000 season. One that has gone down in sports history as Bobby Bonilla Day.
Instead of paying Bonilla the $5.9 million the team owed him at the time, the Amazin's ownership agreed to make annual payments of nearly $1.2 million for 25 years starting July 1, 2011, plus 8% interest. So, instead of paying the aging 3rd baseman $6 million, you decide to pay him a deferred for 10 years $30+ million? Well, you know why the Wilpons don't own the team anymore. Bad decisions catch up with you. The Mets may be the worst but they aren't the only team to dump stars with deferred payments.
On Friday, 59-year-old Bobby Bonilla will collect a check for $1,193,248.20 from the New York Mets, as he has and will every July 1st until he is 72. It really doesn't get any better than that, considering he hasn't played professional baseball since 2001 and that was for St. Louis. But, how did the Mets come up with such a deal? They looked in the mirror!
According to Dan Mullen of espn.com, another New York Mets player, Brett Saberhagen's 24 years of $250,000 payments from the team served as the inspiration for Bonilla's deal.
Mullen noted that current Mets pitcher Max Scherzer is receiving deferred payments from the Washington Nationals totaling $105 million through 2028.
Manny Ramírez is still collecting his $24.2 million total from the Red Sox through 2026.
Junior Griffey pockets $3.59 million from the Reds every year through 2024 and the Hall of Fame member hasn't played for Cincinnati since 2008.
Colorado Rockies legend Todd Helton retired after the 2013 season following 17 years in Denver. Helton pockets $1.3 million through next year as part of his deferment deal. Not bad work if you can get it! Just when everyone thought they could thank Bobby Bonilla for such great deals, it was really Brett Saberhagen that deserves the credit!