The beleaguered New York Mets — hammered by Bernie Madoff’s fraud, free-agent flops and ballpark tumbleweeds — will soon start forking over $1.2 million annually for 25 years to the paunchy 48-year-old ex-slugger Bobby Bonilla, who has not picked up a bat in a decade, the New York Post reported Sunday.
Bonilla, a notorious malcontent who bombed on and off the field for the Mets in the 1990s, will start collecting his nearly $30 million windfall on July 1. Thanks to a deferred deal he inked with the club in 2000, he will collect seven-figure checks through 2035.
Back in 1999, all the Mets wanted was to get rid of Bonilla, who in between strikeouts fought with manager Bobby Valentine and infamously played cards with fellow grumbler Rickey Henderson in the clubhouse while their teammates were losing the pennant in Atlanta.
But the club still owed him $5.9 million for the next and final year of his bloated contract, so the two sides struck a deal: the Mets would put off paying until 2011 but would tack on eight percent compounded interest, jacking the total tab to $29.8 million by the time it is paid off.
And "Bobby Bo" is not short on dough. He pocketed some $50 million during his career, which included two stints in New York, and resides in an $8 million mansion in Greenwich, Conn.
Bonilla bought a couple of racehorses along the way and a fleet of luxury cars, including a Bentley and an antique Porsche. For open-air touring, there were four or five custom-made Harley-Davidson motorcycles, according to his ex-wife, Migdalia Bonilla.
For walking-around money, he holds a cushy $200,000-a-year job as a "special assistant" at the MLB Players Association in Manhattan but does not have to go into the office.
He also remains on the Baltimore Orioles’ payroll. That team’s $500,000-per-annum deferred payments began two months ago and extend until 2015. But he has to split that loot with the ex-wife.