The curious case of Bobby Bonilla

by | Jul 2, 2020

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Bobby Bonilla retired as a baseball player in 2001. He hasn’t played for the New York Mets since 1999. And yet, Bonilla is among the highest-paid position players on the Mets’ payroll this year.

The New York Mets paid Bonilla $1,193,248.20 on Wednesday — as it has each year over the past decade and will continue doing through 2035. His payday, July 1, is known widely as “Bobby Bonilla Day.”

Why? Great question. Bonilla’s annual payday is a result of a contract Bonilla signed with the Mets in 2001. It is regarded as one of the most legendary deals in sports history.

he Mets agreed to buy out Bonilla’s remaining $5.9 million contract. Instead of paying that cash up-front, the team agreed to give Bonilla $1.19 million per year for 25 years, starting in 2011. His annual pay includes a guaranteed (and *very* generous) 8% interest rate.

“If you could get an 8% guaranteed return on your money, would you do it? The answer should be yes,” said Jeffrey Levine, director of advanced planning at Buckingham Wealth Partners.

According to Levine, Bonilla’s deal is extremely lucrative because by 2035, the Mets will have paid Bonilla a total of nearly $29.8 million. That’s more than double the $12.7 million value Bonilla’s contract would have had at the time he started getting paid in 2011.

“I think he got the greatest deal in the whole world,” Jeffrey Levine, the director of advanced planning at Buckingham Wealth Partners, said of Bonilla. “He absolutely took the Mets to the woodshed.”

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