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Bobby Bonilla Day: Deferred contracts vs Shohei Ohtani's deal

Former baseball player Bobby Bonilla receives $1.2 million annually from the Mets due to deferred salary. Learn how this happened.

Los Angeles is abuzz with talk of Bobby Bonilla Day, a day when the former ballplayer, now 61 years old, receives a hefty payment of $1,193,248.20 from the New York Mets. This payment, which will continue every July 1 until 2035, is a result of a deferred payment agreement made with the Mets.

Bonilla, a solid hitter with an impressive career, played for seven teams during his 16-year stint in the MLB. The Mets, where he played from 1992 to 1995 and again in 1999, agreed to defer his $5.9 million salary in 2000, leading to the yearly payments starting in 2011. This move was part of a larger financial strategy by Mets owner Fred Wilpon, who had invested heavily with Bernie Madoff and faced significant losses when Madoff's schemes were exposed.

The decision to defer Bonilla's payment allowed the Mets to invest in other players like Mike Hampton, Derek Bell, and Todd Zeile, who helped the team reach the National League pennant in 2000. A similar strategy was employed by the Dodgers in the case of Shohei Ohtani, who agreed to defer a significant portion of his salary to free up payroll for other star players.

While deferring salary may not always be a wise financial move for players due to inflation, it can be a strategic decision in certain circumstances. The Major League Baseball Players Association provides players with information and perspective to help them make the best decisions for their financial future. Bonilla's case serves as a reminder of the complexities and considerations involved in deferred contracts in professional sports.

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