The Mets are paying a player who retired in 2001 more money than Matt Harvey this season

Matt HarveyAP PhotoNew York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) throws during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Thursday, April 9, 2015, in Washington.

The New York Mets are paying one of the best pitchers in baseball less money this season than a guy who hasn’t played in nearly 15 years.

Bobby Bonilla, 52, will collect $US1.2 million this season from the Mets while ace Matt Harvey, 26, will earn just over $US614,000.

The retired ball player’s earning power comes from a brilliant contract decision he made with the team during the waning days of his career.

Instead of paying him $US5.9 million in 2000, the two sides agreed to defer his salary and then make annual payments of $US1.2 million for 25 years, according to the Sporting News.

That turned a relatively paltry sum, for a pro athlete, into about $US30 million.

According to Major League Baseball salary records, Harvey will earn $US614,125 this season and is not eligible to become a free agent until after the 2018 season.

Bobby BonillaAP PhotoNew York Mets’ Bobby Bonilla watches with Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Damian Miller as his pinch-hit double in the ninth inning falls in the outfield Saturday, May 8, 1999, in Phoenix.

Bonilla has not played for the Mets since 1999. He last set foot on the field in 2001. But, with the payments starting in 2011, he might be collecting an MLB paycheck long after even Harvey’s career is over.

The ace struck out nine batters and allowed only four hits in six shutout innings Thursday afternoon in his first start since 2013, when he had Tommy John surgery to repair torn ligaments in his pitching elbow.

Bonilla was somewhere counting down the days until July 1.

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