As we noted before, Bobby Bonilla’s deferred deal with the Mets isn’t anywhere near as bad and mockworthy as it’s often made out to be. But the fact is, it isn’t even the worst in the game, either as far as the money or the optics go.
Check out some of these gems, most of which was gathered from an article by ESPN’s Doug Mittler back in 2012:
- Manny Ramirez has a 16-year, $32 million deferred money deal from the Red Sox which, like Bonilla’s, kicked in on July 1, 2011. It costs them $1.968 million a year and goes through 2026 when Ramirez is 54;
- The Cardinals are paying Matt Holliday to play now, but they’ll still be paying him through 2029 under the $120 million, seven-year contract he signed in 2010;
- Retired Rockies first baseman Todd Helton deferred $13 million of his 2011 salary (total was $19.1 million) and will be paid through 2024;
- The Nationals will pay Ryan Zimmerman $10 million over five years after he’s retired, with a nominal organization job;
- Ryan Braun will receive $18 million in payments in equal installments each July 1 from 2022 to 2031;
- The Tigers are still paying Gary Sheffield between $1 million and $2.5 million annually through 2019;
- The Mariners are paying Ichiro Suzuki a chunk of his last big deal through the year 2032;
- The Reds signed Ken Griffey Jr. to a $116.5 million contract in February 2000, but more than half of that is still being paid by the team and will continue to be so until Griffey is in his 50s.
My favorite one, however, has to be from my Atlanta Braves, who tried to make a big splash by signing Bruce Sutter before the 1985 season. He was a bust of course, but this is how he was paid. From a 1985 Los Angeles Times report:
Bruce Sutter was to receive payments totaling $44 million over the next 36 years from his new club, the Atlanta Braves . . . Sutter will receive a $750,000 salary for each of the next six years and a minimum of $1.12 million a year for the remaining 30 years of the contract. In addition, he will get the $9.1 million in so-called “principal” at the end.
Bruce. Sutter. And you think Bobby Bonilla’s deal was a bad one.