Stop killing the New York Mets for the Bobby Bonilla deal, just accept it and move on.
In case you haven’t heard, Bobby Bonilla will make $1.19 million today, and every July 1st, until 2035.
Killing the Mets is an annual tradition for fans who have to watch the team, but Bobby Bonilla Day is when everyone gets to jump in on the fun. Amazingly though, the Mets are not the only team to have this type of payment structure.
Max Scherzer will be paid $105 million by the Nationals until 2028. Manny Ramirez is owed $24.6 million by the Boston Red Sox until 2026. The Braves will stop paying Bruce Sutter their annual $1.12 million this year after 30 years.
Of course, it’s fun to make fun of the Mets. Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil can’t be happy that a retired Met is making what they make combined in a regular 162-game season.
But here’s why it makes sense for the Mets.
They signed Bonilla to a five-year, $29 million deal, and he was then the highest-paid National League player. Bonilla actually got better as his days with the Mets went on, but he was traded to the Orioles in 1995. After taking him back in 1999, the Mets decided to cut Bonilla but do so without paying him the remaining $5.9 million they owed him.
That’s how we got to where we are now. But there are some in-between moments that were created by the Bonilla agreement that Mets fans otherwise wouldn’t have been able to appreciate.
Had the Mets wound up paying Bonilla the remainder of the contract at the time, they would not have been able to trade for Mike Hampton, who finished in second place in the 1999 NL Cy Young Award voting. In 2000, he posted a 3.14 ERA, the fifth-best in the National League that year, arguably being the ace of a team that made it to the World Series. He also won the 2000 NLCS MVP after tossing 16 shutout innings against his former Cardinals.
After Hampton signed with the Rockies, the Mets received a compensatory pick. That pick, the 38th overall selection in the 2001 draft, became David Wright.
It’s quite an incredible spin job, but one that Mets fans — no strangers to needing to look on the bright side — deserve. So rather than feel bad about Bobby Bonilla day, consider that the deal helped produce the ability to acquire a Cy Young caliber pitcher and arguably the greatest offensive player in the history of their franchise, all while retaining that classic Mets laughingstock appeal.