Bobby Bonilla Day: NL East has history with deferred payments


If you're retired baseball player Bobby Bonilla, July 1 is your personal national holiday.

For the rest of us, it’s just Bobby Bonilla Day -- the annual fan celebration that the New York Mets are still (somewhat amazingly) on the hook to pay their one-time star who left the Big Apple before the 2000 MLB season, with the team still owing him millions of dollars.

Here’s an inside look at the most famous deferred contract sports and how it has influenced Philadelphia athletes over the years. 

Is Bobby Bonilla still getting paid?

Bonilla, a six-time All-Star who played in the majors from 1986 to 2001, still collects roughly $1.19 million every July 1. Few people in the United States look forward to the calendar flipping from June to July more than the former Met third baseman.

When does the Bobby Bonilla contract end?

Bonilla’s contract will continue paying him until 2035. Pretty nice, right?

Why is Bobby Bonilla still getting paid?

Instead of paying Bonilla $5.9 million in 2000, the Mets opted for a deferred salary arrangement that set the team up to make annual payments of nearly $1.2 million for 25 years starting July 1, 2011. The deal included a negotiated 8% interest.

Have the Philadelphia Phillies ever agreed to pay a Bobby Bonilla contract?

The Philadelphia Phillies should count their blessings as the bad luck of deferred contract money has seemed to only sting their divisional rivals -- most notably, the Mets and the Nationals. 


In Washington, the Nationals have deferred money for Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Rafeal Soriano and Ryan Zimmerman. Some have proved to be slight bargains (Scherzer), others have definitely resulted in the inevitable headache (Strasburg, Soriano). Whatever the bottom line, the Phillies have remained mostly unscathed while teams like the Mets continue to doll out salary deferrals like candy.