The Mets outfield right now is one huge question mark. Filled with players with little to no experience and a few guys that the Mets are hoping can be “lightning in a bottle,” it is by far the biggest concern for the Mets entering the season.
The Mets have been cutting their payroll since 2009 and their outfield has been one area that has been hit the hardest. Not one outfielder on their active roster is set to make more than $1 million this year.
However, there are guys that are no longer on the team that take up more of the payroll than their projected starting three.
One is Jason Bay, who is now on the Mariners after the Mets cut ties with him this offseason, and is still owed $21 million over the next few years. The second-highest: Bobby Bonilla who is on the books for $1.19 million a year until 2035.
Too bad for the Mets, Bonilla is turning 50 on Saturday and he hasn’t played in the majors since 2001. Despite that, he might still be able to earn a starting job in the Mets current outfield.
Bonilla played with the Mets from 1992-1995 and had a brief stint with the Mets in 1999 where he played in only 60 games. In December of 1991, Bonilla and the Mets agreed to a five year, $29 million contract that made him the highest paid player in baseball.
When the contract ended, he went to the Marlins where he signed a four year, $23.3 million contract. Bonilla was on a steady decline by this point so he was traded to the Dodgers and then reacquired by the Mets before the 1999 season. After a dismal season that was just as controversial as it was poor, the Mets decided to part ways with Bonilla but still owed him $5.9 million for the 2000 season.
So the Mets and Bonilla reached an agreement on a buyout that included eight percent interest. They held off on making payments to Bonilla until 2011 in an attempt to build a championship team while saving money in the meantime.
We all know how their championship plans worked out.
Bonilla is not the only player that the Mets are still playing that has been retired for years. In 2004, the Mets had to begin paying former pitcher Bret Saberhagen $250,000 annually for the next 25 years.
Mets Owner Fred Wilpon claims that he lost his money during Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, but we might actually find out one day that it’s because of the Bobby Bonilla and Bret Saberhagen contracts. Wilpon claims that the Mets financial problems are now over but after hearing this, it’s hard to believe.
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