Every July 1 from 2011 until 2035, Bobby Bonilla gets paid close to $1.2 million by the Mets, a team he hasn’t played for since 1999.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Bonilla said Thursday morning on WFAN’s Boomer and Carton show.
Bonilla returned to the Mets in a trade from the Dodgers after the 1998 season. He was paid $5.9 million in 1999 for the Mets and hit .160 with four home runs and 18 RBIs in 60 games.
For the Mets to get rid of Bonilla after that season, they would be forced to eat all or some of the $5.9 million remaining on his deal. Instead, both parties agreed to defer all payment with interest to 2011. Instead of $5.9 million, Bonilla receives about $1.2 million each year until 2035. Over the 25 years of payments, Bonilla will make more than he did on his five-year deal with the Mets from the early 1990s that made him the highest-paid player in baseball at the time.
“I get a lot of phone calls for buyouts,” said Bonilla, 54, who was on WFAN to promote the new Infield Chatter baseball app.
Those calls come from places other than the Mets, Bonilla said.
Bonilla said it was “unique” timing when he first came to New York in 1992.
“Me coming here after [Daryl] Strawberry and Dwight [Gooden] was a little bit tough,” Bonilla said. “I mean, they’re so revered here. They were loved. I just came in at that really unfortunate time, so to speak. Even though I was a New York City kid. The love that the Mets fan had for Strawberry and Doc was amazing. Something I had never seen before. I just came in in that unique time period.”
On playing cards in the clubhouse with Rickey Henderson during Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS against the Braves:
“Rickey Henderson was in leftfield and was taken out of the game. He was not happy,” Bonilla said.
“We’re in Atlanta, and Rickey says to me, ‘Bo, get the deck of cards, let me just relax my mind. And the reason we did that, we actually had played cards all year long.
“We got the game on, we’re playing casino and we’re watching it and we’re going back and forth.”