Ex-Pirates slugger Bobby Bonilla made another $1.19 million
Today isn’t former Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Bobby Bonilla’s birthday, but just like every July 1 for the next 16 years, he has nearly 1.2 million reasons to celebrate.
Thanks to a deferred contract put in place when Bonilla was released by the New York Mets following the 1999 season, Bonilla received an annual paycheck of $1.19 million every July 1 starting in 2011 and running through 2035.
When he was released, Bonilla was owed $5.9 million by the Mets, but his agent offered to defer the payment for a decade at 8 percent interest, which means that over the life of the deal, they’ll pay him $29.8 million.
The most bizarre part of the whole thing, however, is that Bonilla, now in his 50s, is still on the Mets payroll. Not only that, but he made more this year than half of the Mets current active roster.
And if that doesn’t make you feel bad, consider this: according to the adjusted salaries list at Spotrac.com, Bonilla made more money today than all but seven of the players on the Pirates’ active roster.
Naturally, when “Bonilla Day” rolls around each year, the social-media commentary comes hot and heavy.
The Trib’s Chris Adamski ranks it as the top July 1 holiday being celebrated today:
July 1 holiday power rankings:
5. Canada Day
4. NBA Free Agency Day
3. NHL Free Agency Day
2. Wimbledon Opening Day
1. Bobby Bonilla Day https://t.co/TK7jBxnzLd
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) July 1, 2019
The Undefeated sums it up nicely via Eddie Murphy:
Bobby Bonilla when that $1.19 million check hits every July 1 pic.twitter.com/M6AEG5LWzC
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) July 1, 2019
The look on Pete Alonso’s face makes it look like he just found out that Bobby Bonilla is making more than twice his salary even though the last time Bonilla batted for the Mets, Alonso was 5 years old:
The Mets are paying Pete Alonso $555,000 this season, less than half of what they are paying Bobby Bonilla ($1.19 million) pic.twitter.com/rQERIwN9F5
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 1, 2019
According to NBC Sports, Bonilla’s deferred contract is hardly the worst one out there:
There are tons of teams still paying guys from as far back as the 1980s on long-term deferred money deals but people act like the Mets/Bonilla deal is the only one. Bonilla's deal isn't even the worst. Not close to it, actually. https://t.co/wNOWa04Yvl
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) July 1, 2019
Twitter user CluelessMickey got the math wrong, but his heart is in the right place:
I think it’s safe to say that 50 years from now we will not be celebrating the 2019 #Mets. Although Robbie Cano will still be hitting 3rd and we’ll still be paying Bobby Bonilla.
— CluelessMickey (@CluelessMickeyC) June 29, 2019
As Chris Adamski pointed out, today is also National Canada Day. However, as Twitter user Shawn Quilty points out:
Bobby Bonilla celebrates #CanadaDay more than any actual Canadian…
— Shawn Quilty (@ShawnQuilty) June 30, 2019
And one wise tweet helpfully connects the past with the present:
It's really sad, we were only 15 years away from not being made fun of about Bobby Bonilla, now we're gonna be made fun of about Jarred Kelenic for the next 50 years
— Sam Wertz (@thesheabridge) June 28, 2019
Happy Bobby Bonilla Day, everyone. As always, celebrate responsibly.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .