The calendar has shifted to July, and that can mean only one thing: It's time for Mets fans everywhere to wish each other a Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! Why? On Monday, 56-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 1 from 2011 through 2035.
In 2000, the Mets agreed to buy out the remaining $5.9 million on Bonilla's contract.
However, instead of paying Bonilla the $5.9 million at the time, the Mets agreed to make annual payments of nearly $1.2 million for 25 years starting July 1, 2011, including a negotiated 8% interest.
At the time, Mets ownership was involved with a Bernie Madoff account that promised double-digit returns over the course of the deal, and the Mets were poised to make a significant profit -- if the Madoff account delivered. It did not.
The Mets will be paying Bonilla more this season than they will pay Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil combined. Bonilla last played for the Mets in 1999 and last played in the majors for the Cardinals in 2001, but will be paid through 2035 (when he'll be 72).
Other notable examples of deferred-money contracts
• Bobby Bonilla (again): A second deferred-contract plan with the Mets and Orioles pays him $500,000 a year for 25 years. Those payments began in 2004.
• Bret Saberhagen: Saberhagen will receive $250,000 a year from the Mets for 25 years (payments also began in 2004; this was the inspiration for Bonilla's deal).
• Max Scherzer: Will receive $105 million total from the Nationals that will be paid out through 2028.
• Manny Ramírez: Will collect $24.2 million total from the Red Sox through 2026.
• Bruce Sutter: Signed a deal with the Braves before the 1985 season with deferred money. He was to be paid $750,000 per year while with the Braves, then for 30 years after he retired, he'd receive at least $1.12 million per year. The Braves will be paying him through 2020. He received the $750,000 figure in 1989 and 1990 because he retired with two years left on the six-year deal, so his 30 years of the other installments didn't begin until 1991.