Bobby Bonilla

Things can’t get any worse, right? Wrong. Sunday is the day the last place New York Mets shell out their yearly $1.19 million payment to Bobby Bonilla.

Is there anything worse than waking up to a last-place New York Mets team? Yes, unfortunately, there is.

July 1 is a day that is infamous among Mets fans. It is a yearly reminder of just how poor this franchise is at navigating the financial aspects of this game. Today is the day that payroll shells out $1.19 million to a player who last suited up for the Mets in 1999. Happy Bobby Bonilla day everybody.

Bonilla first joined the Mets in 1991 when he signed a five-year, $29 million contract with the Amazins’. At the time, the deal made Bonilla the highest paid player in Major League Baseball. Despite landing All-Star selections in 1993 and 1995, Bonilla’s time with the Mets was viewed as subpar.

In three and a half seasons in New York, he posted a .277 batting average with 91 home runs and 277 RBI. The Mets shipped him off to Baltimore just before the 1995 trade deadline in exchange for Damon Buford and Alex Ochoa.

But that was not the last we heard from Bobby Bo. In November of 1998, the Mets jumped at the chance to reacquire their former all-star, dealing Mel Rojas to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Bonilla. However, his second stint in New York was tumultuous, to say the least. Bonilla clashed with then-manager Bobby Valentine, primarily centered around his inconsistent playing time.

Things hit a boiling point when Bonilla reportedly spent Game Six of the 1999 NLCS in the clubhouse playing cards with Rickey Henderson. The Mets would go on to be eliminated in eleven innings during that game.

The Game Six incident effectively sealed his fate and Fred Wilpon and Co. resolved to jettison Bonilla at the first opportunity. Despite $5.9 million remaining on his contract, the Mets opted to release Bonilla, but his agent came back with a deal.

In exchange for deferring his payment, Bonilla would receive $1.19 million from 2011 all the way to 2035. I honestly believe a traffic light could see just how bad of a deal this was, but Fred Wilpon was blinded by the supposed returns he was making from his good friend Bernie Madoff’s investment fund.

And that’s how Bobby Bonilla day began. Bonilla essentially negotiated his way into a very fat pension that will have paid him $29.8 million when all is said and done. Somewhere on a yacht in the Caribbean, Bobby Bonilla is probably sipping on some sort of beverage with an umbrella on it.

Not bad for a $23.9 million kick out the door. Only 17 years to go.

A former disciple of Stan Fischler. IBWAA member. Bylines at Baseball Prospectus Mets, Elite Sports New York, and my own creation: Baseknock MLB. Formerly Amazin' Avenue of SB Nation. Proud UAlbany Alum.