ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bobby Bonilla's Contract

Mets Fascinating!  As reported here in the Wall Street Journal blog, the Mets are about to start paying Bobby Bonilla for doing nothing!  They are obligated to do so under the terms of their agreement with Bonilla from 2000 when they bought out the final year of his contract.  Beginning July 1st and continuing for another 25 years, the Mets will pay Mr. Bonilla $1.2 million/year.  

Although Bonilla had been a highly productive player for much of his career, he never lived up to the tough New York standards, and neither party seemed happy with the relationship.  In his last season with the Mets, Bonilla hit .160 in 60 games.  He then notoriously showed his disdain for the team and its prospects by playing cards with Rickey Henderson during the National League championship series.  The Mets thus agreed to defer his $5.9 million salary for the last season just in order to be rid of him.  

The deal was not unprecedented and seemed to be in the best interest of both parties at the time.  The Mets freed up enough room under the salary cap to lure some good players and become contenders in 2000.  However, long-term the deferred salary is a drain on the Mets' resources.  Because of the agreed-upon 8% interest, Bonilla will eventually collect $30 million from the Mets. Still, Adam Meshell of provides an intelligent defense of the agreement here.  

All hail the power of contracts!


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Sorry, prof... Baseball doesn't have a salary cap. It may have allowed the Mets spend some additional ash on players if they were operating under a limited budget - but a league-imposed cap had nothing to do with it.

Posted by: LawDawg | May 25, 2011 11:13:42 AM

Thanks for the correction. What was I thinking?

Posted by: Jeremy Telman | May 25, 2011 12:20:34 PM