Starting next year the Mets will pay Bobby Bonilla $1.2 million per season through 2035

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Mike Sielski of the Wall Street Journal notes that starting exactly one year from today the Mets will begin paying Bobby Bonilla an annual salary of $1.2 million … for the next 25 years.
Bonilla is 47 years old, has been retired since 2001, and hasn’t played for the Mets since 1999, but when they bought out the remaining $5.9 million on his contract in January of 2000 they agreed to defer payment at eight percent interest.
And now it’s time to pay the fiddler.
Back then Bonilla was represented by agent Jeff Borris of Beverly Hills Sports Council and the Mets’ general manager was Steve Phillips, and according to agent Steve Gilbert “both sides thought it was a good idea.” And in fairness to Phillips, the Bonilla thing certainly wasn’t his worst idea.
Anyway, as Sielski notes by deferring the money owed to Bonilla the Mets were able to add Mike Hampton, Todd Zeile, and Derek Bell to the 2000 team that won the National League pennant and lost to the Yankees in the World Series, but now instead of simply paying him the $5.9 million in 2000 the team will end up giving Bonilla slightly under $30 million from 2011 to 2035.
Bonilla was at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico this week for the Mets-Marlins series and referred to his unique arrangement as “that beautiful thing.”

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.