The New York Mets gave 48-year-old third baseman Bobby Bonilla a $1,193,248 check today – and will eventually give him another one every July 1 for the next 25 years.How did a retired player end up on the Mets payroll for the next quarter-century … and 11 years after he last played a game for them?
Well, after the 1999 season, Bonilla had one-year left on his contract. The Mets wanted to get rid of him and he wanted to leave, but it would have cost them $5.9 million to buy him out. That was $5.9M more than they wanted to spend.
So owner Fred Wilpon and then-GM Steve Phillips worked out a deal. If Bonilla agreed to defer the $5.9M payment and spread it out over a 25-year span, the Mets would begin paying him back, with interest, in 11 years.
Because of the generous 8% interest rate, Bonilla’s $5.9 million will become $29,831,205. He’ll receive his last payment in 2035, when he turns 73 years old.
That’s more than the entire value of his first contact with the Mets that he signed back in 1992.
So if and when David Einhorn takes over the team, he (and all other Mets fans) will be stuck with this reminder of their not so great past for long, long time.
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