COMMENTARY | If there's one area the New York Mets specialize in, it's acquiring underachieving or malcontent players whom are inevitably disliked by fans.
The Mets signed Bonilla to a five-year, $29 million contract prior to the 1992 season. The switch-hitter had been an All-Star the year before, posting a park-adjusted 149 OPS+ with 18 home runs, 100 RBIs and a league-leading 44 doubles.
The "star," however, slumped in his first season with the Mets, hitting to the tune of a 121 OPS+ and witnessing his average drop 53 points. Unlike the medium-market Pittsburgh Pirates, Bonilla was in the spotlight in New York -- and he did not thrive in it.
Then-beat reporter Bob Klapisch painted a particularly unflattering picture of the 1993 Mets and Bonilla in his book, The Worst Team Money Can Buy. In fact, Bonilla was so irked by his portrayal in the soon-to-be released book that he famously confronted Klapisch, telling the reporter, "I'll hurt you. I'll show you the Bronx."
Bonilla also got into arguments with other players, coaches and members of the media.
Yet even though the Mets finally dealt the clubhouse cancer away in 1995 to the Baltimore Orioles, the franchise couldn't help but bring Bobby-Bo back just four years later. In 1999, the Mets re-acquired Bonilla and his undeserving salary from the Florida Marlins.
Now an over-the-hill bench player, Bonilla couldn't back up his arrogant smile with run production. The 36-year-old posted a mere 49 OPS+ over 141 forgettable plate appearances. Still on the hook for his $5.9 million salary the following year, the Mets decided to cut their losses and buy Bonilla's contract out.
In perhaps one of the most thick organizational decisions, the Mets agreed to defer Bonilla's payments in installments of $1.19 million over a 25-year period. This, of course, meant that from 2011 through 2035, the Mets planned to fork over a whopping $29,831,205.
Considering Bonilla will be on the Mets' payroll until age 72, he will continue to be the most despised player in team history for quite a while.
Ben Berkon is a freelance sports, humor, and tech writer/blogger from New York City. Berkon's work has been featured on The Huffington Post, The Onion, Bleacher Report, Bloomberg Sports, Medium, and Rising Apple, and he also manages The Beanball and Blah Blah Berkon, his personal stat-heavy baseball and humor blogs, respectively. He's [unfortunately] been a Mets follower his entire life.
- Sports & Recreation
- Bobby Bonilla
- New York Mets