Bobby Bonilla Day: Max Scherzer leads DC’s deferred contract list


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 DMV area 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 Baltimore Orioles ever agreed to pay a Bobby Bonilla contract?

The Baltimore Orioles owe Chris Davis $54 million through 2022, but the payments don’t quite stop there. The slugger will collect $3.5 annually from 2023-32 and then $1.4 million from 2033-37 thanks to a contract payment deferral he agreed to in 2016. In other words, we might be looking at the next Bobby Bonilla.


Have the Washington Nationals ever agreed to pay a Bobby Bonilla contract?

The Washington Nationals are no stranger to deferred money. Max Scherzer is due $15 million payments between 2022 and 2028, while Stephen Strasburg’s current deal has him getting paid his annual $35 million salary at a 1 percent interest through the end of the decade. The team has also spent deferred money on Daniel Murphy recently and will be sending Matt Wieters a $5 million check this year for similar reasons.

Before all those deals, Rafael Soriano’s contract was the gold standard of deferred DC deals. The former Nats closer is set to be paid $2 million annually from 2018 through 2024 thanks to a deferred payment clause in his 2012 contract.