On a day when NBA and NHL players across the nation are stamping their names on fat new contracts, it's Bobby Bonilla who will once again make out like the slickest of diamond thieves.
Today, July 1—nearly 15 years since his last appearance in a Major League Baseball game—the former slugger will receive another check for $1.19 million from the New York Mets.
It's just one of many annual payments Bonilla agreed to receive as part of a drastic contract restructuring he signed with the franchise prior to the 2000 MLB season. Looking to cut ties with Bonilla and put off paying the $5.9 million remaining on his contract, the Mets offered a deferred payment deal: $1.19 million every year for 25 years, starting June 1, 2011.
So here we are again, ogling Bonilla's de facto pension and how it outpaces some athletes who, you know, are actually playing.
ESPN's Darren Rovell—ever the reliable font for unsolicited "he got paid and didn't do much" factoids—tweeted out a list of Mets pitchers who, when combined, will barely make more than Bonilla this year.
This is all true. It's also kind of how having a bunch of guys on rookie contracts goes.
For The Win's Ted Berg sees the Mets' deal with Bonilla in a more positive light.
As he notes, deferring Bonilla's payment allowed the Mets to sign pitcher Mike Hampton, who played well enough and earned the Mets a compensatory draft pick when he left New York for the Colorado Rockies.
The Mets then used this pick to draft eventual star third baseman David Wright, Berg writes:
With that pick, the one they got for Mike Hampton — whom they were able to afford because they deferred payments to Bonilla — the Mets selected a Virginia high-school infielder named David Wright. Wright grew up to become arguably the best position player in franchise history, the Mets’ all-time leader in practically everything.
So, while hilarious on its face, maybe the Bonilla deal wasn't such a leaden albatross after all.
The Mets are gonna Met—this much we know—but that doesn't mean you can't look on the bright side of a 50-something-year-old man making more than guys on your starting roster, right? Silver linings, guys!
Dan is on Twitter. He has a similar contractual setup but with payments in gum.