If there is something we can all agree upon, it's that Bobby Bonilla was an unmitigated disaster as a New York Met. Oh sure, his numbers weren't too bad, heck, they almost look decent in and of themselves. Problem was, that was, quite literally, the worst team money could buy. The real issue was Bobby Bo's attitude was, um, not good. Yes, he was in over his head in New York. And yes, they never should have put the burden of being the alpha dog on him when he was obviously a second fiddle. And yes, that was certainly not the first, or last, time the Mets would make that mistake. But when they finally traded him away in 1995 (for "5-tool" prospect Alex Ochoa - although none of those tools were baseball skills) it was a divorce of absolute relief. A most wise mutual parting of a grand error in judgement on both parties. The biggest problem of all is, this is not where our story ends. In a move about as baffling as any in baseball history, the Mets inexplicably brought Bonilla back in 1999. The Mets wanted Bonilla as a bat off the bench while Bonilla wanted to play every day. This went as well as you could imagine and he sulked his way to a .160 average and an infamous card game. The Mets were then ultra-desperate to unload Bonilla for a second time. And because it's the Mets, they continued doing stupid things. If you have been anywhere the last few July 1sts, you know exactly what I am talking about. And yes, the whole thing is very embarrassing. But here's the thing...
This isn't the first deferred payment contract in baseball history, and heck, it isn't even the worst deferred contract in baseball history but somehow, it is the only ever mentioned deferred contract in baseball history. Why? Well, the fact that the Mets are an eternal punchline doesn't help; the media have just made Bobby Bo the personification of that. When you are paying a hated 52-year old ex-player more than your two best players, it just makes for sexier headlines. The thing that bothers me most is that this nonsense has leaked out of the grimier blogosphere and into the mainstream media. I have had to hear about this shit all damn day. So let's turn this around and mock some other contracts for a change.
When the Reds traded for Ken Griffey Jr. in 2000, they deferred a portion of his salary that is now being paid to him through 2024.
At least the Mets have been to the World Series since 1990.
Okay, if that's the measure, what about Manny Ramirez? The Red Sox are currently paying him close to $2 million until 2026.
The Sox will be shelling out for those 2004 and 2007 seasons until Manny is 54.
The Rockies played the those 2007 Red Sox in the World Series. The first baseman for that team? Todd Helton, who the Rox deferred a boatload of salary for in 2011 and will be paying him a cool million bucks a year until 2024.
I'd just like the interest payment from that kind of money, I'm not greedy.
There are active players still getting deferred money. Ichiro is grinding things out in Miami in his quest to get 3000 hits. He is still a serviceable 4th outfielder, really.
Meanwhile, the Mariners are paying him, and will keep on paying him, deferred salary until 2032. Mr. Suzuki will be 59 years old by then and much closer to collecting social security than giving his Hall of Fame speech.
How about dudes named Ryan? Zimmerman will be rewarded deferred money big time a good 5 years after he retires.
Ryan Zimmerman, much like David Wright, is a beloved hot corner star who has seen more of the injury rehab clinic than the batters box of late.
If that is too cuddly, how about the opposite end of the Ryan spectrum, Ryan Braun.
Hell, Braun isn't even getting interest on his deferment, but he will get paid 7 figures until 2031. I wonder how many specimen jars you can buy with that kind of scratch.
Quick...guess which one of the 8 teams who Gary Sheffield played for deferred a bunch of cash in his contract and will pay him $1.9 million until 2019, which is ten years after he retired?
If you guessed the Detroit Tigers, come get your prize - a purposefully overthrown ball from third base.
Think desperate teams are the only ones that defer money as a quick fix? Think again.
fat check from 2020 until 2029.
But what is the grandfather and Granddaddy of all foolish deferred payments? That begins and ends with Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter.
I am not sure how Sutter even got into Cooperstown, but perhaps he spread around some of Ted Turner's money to help him in his cause. The Braves have paid Sutter $1.3 million a year since 1990 and will keep on paying him until 2020. Sure, Sutter made the Hall of Fame, but he earned that status with the Cubs and the Cardinals. The Braves have and will cough up $44 million over 36 years for 112 games pitched, 40 saves, and a 4.76 ERA. Nice work if you can get it. But somehow, the Mets are the ones that are held up as fools for the whole Bonilla thing.
Not Shown: Steve Young, Kevin Garnett, Rick DiPietro, Bronson Arroyo, Mario Lemieux, and most of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks.