July 1, 2022 marks the 12th annual Bobby Bonilla day, the day celebrated each year by baseball fans when Bonilla collects his annual payment of approx. $1.19 million from the New York Mets.
It's a deal Bonilla worked out with the Mets in 2000 that stems all the way back to a contract he signed with the Florida Marlins in Dec. 1996 (4 years, $23.3 million). Essentially, the Mets were playoff contenders in 1999 — and would go on to the World Series the following year — but after a series of trades, the Mets were caught holding the bag when Bonilla's performance dropped off a cliff. After hitting .249 for the Marlins and Dodgers in 1998, Bonilla's average plummeted to .160 for the Mets in '99.
As the story goes, the Mets still owed Bonilla $5.9 million for the 2000 season but couldn't suffer that albatross in their lineup, so they negotiated a deal with Bonilla that would defer paying him that money until 2011. With eight percent interest tacked on every year, that worked out to the Mets paying him a total of $29.8 million, in annual installments of approx. $1.19 million every July 1 through the year 2035.
That's nothing compared to what Max Scherzer will be making in deferred payments each July 1, beginning today, through the year 2028.
Seven and a half years ago (Jan. 2015), Scherzer signed a seven-year, $210 million contract with the Washington Nationals that included a record $105 million in deferred payments, to be paid out at a rate of $15 million per year from 2022 to 2028. Today, July 1, 2022, marks the date of the first of those $15 million payments.
Max Scherzer Day, anyone?
According to Spotrac.com, the last of those deferred $15 million payments — in 2028 — will be picked up by the Los Angeles Dodgers, to whom Scherzer was traded by the Nats prior to the July 2021 trade deadline. The Nats will be on the hook for the remaining $90 million, with payouts arriving each July 1.
There's another way of looking at this, of course: that the Nationals are paying Scherzer $15 million a year, for at least the next two seasons, to pitch against them in the NL East. The three-time Cy Young Award winner will earn a combined $58.33 million — from the Mets ($43.33MM) and the Nats ($15MM) — to pitch in 2022.
Scherzer is signed with the Mets through 2024, with a player option in the final year. He will continue to be paid by the Nats (and Dodgers) long after.
Perhaps Bonilla can have his day back in 2029.