Jul 1, 2010, 12:45 PM EDT
Mike Sielski of the Wall Street Journal notes that starting exactly one year from today the Mets will begin paying Bobby Bonilla an annual salary of $1.2 million … for the next 25 years.
Bonilla is 47 years old, has been retired since 2001, and hasn’t played for the Mets since 1999, but when they bought out the remaining $5.9 million on his contract in January of 2000 they agreed to defer payment at eight percent interest.
And now it’s time to pay the fiddler.
Back then Bonilla was represented by agent Jeff Borris of Beverly Hills Sports Council and the Mets’ general manager was Steve Phillips, and according to agent Steve Gilbert “both sides thought it was a good idea.” And in fairness to Phillips, the Bonilla thing certainly wasn’t his worst idea.
Anyway, as Sielski notes by deferring the money owed to Bonilla the Mets were able to add Mike Hampton, Todd Zeile, and Derek Bell to the 2000 team that won the National League pennant and lost to the Yankees in the World Series, but now instead of simply paying him the $5.9 million in 2000 the team will end up giving Bonilla slightly under $30 million from 2011 to 2035.
Bonilla was at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico this week for the Mets-Marlins series and referred to his unique arrangement as “that beautiful thing.”
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