New York Mets: Flipping the script on Bobby Bonilla Day

25 Jul 1993: Infielder Bobby Bonilla of the New York Mets in action during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport
25 Jul 1993: Infielder Bobby Bonilla of the New York Mets in action during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport /
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Happy Bobby Bonilla Day to those New York Mets fans and MLB followers who celebrate … and also to those who cringe at the thought of what the day means.

Since its inception in 2011, July 1 has become a day to remember the former New York Mets infielder/outfielder and the interesting way he has become a millionaire again each year on this date.

For those who don’t know (or just need a refresher course), when the Mets agreed to buy out the rest of Bonilla’s contract with the team in 2000, rather than pay him $5.9 million immediately, the team worked out a deal with Bonilla to defer the payments … and make the waiting worth his while. Beginning on July 1, 2011, and on every July 1 for the next 25 years, the Mets would pay Bonilla $1,193,248.20. That’s basically his contract with 8 percent interest on top of it.

Why did the Mets choose to do this instead of just give Bonilla the money in 2000? Well, it involves Bernie Madoff and a potential for a payday that never happened. You can read more about it here.

When Mets owner Steve Cohen first purchased the team, he quickly embraced the wild ride that Bobby Bonilla Day has become in MLB circles and suggested it should be a day to be celebrated.

But what if Bobby Bonilla Day was celebrated because of what happened for the Mets in the years after Bonilla’s deal was put into place?

As detailed in this article, there is a way to connect the timeline between Bobby Bonilla’s deferral (which eventually became Bobby Bonilla Day) and the draft selection of David Wright, one of the most beloved and well respected Mets of all time.

How? Well, the money that was saved by Bonilla deferring his contract allowed the cash-strapped Mets the opportunity to pursue other players, including a trade with the Houston Astros in the offseason prior to the 2000 campaign for starting pitcher Mike Hampton.

Bonilla was released by the Mets on January 3, 2000, 11 days after the Astros sent Hampton to New York. Hampton’s $5.75 million deal for the 2000 season with the Mets was close to the same amount Bonilla deferred ($5.9 million), in essence moving the money to what the Mets would have paid Bonilla to what they were able to pay Hampton.

Hampton would pitch one season for the Mets before he becomes a free agent … with a qualified offer attached to him. When the Colorado Rockies sign Hampton to an eight-year, $121 million deal before the 2001 season, the Mets received a compensatory first-round draft pick in the 2001 MLB draft.

With that pick, the 38th overall, the Mets selected Wright, who would become a seven-time All-Star and the franchise’s all-time leader in bWAR (49.2) among so many other categories in his 14 seasons with the Mets.

Next. Keith Hernandez drops a not-so-subtle note to Pete Alonso. dark

So maybe, instead of bemoaning Bobby Bonilla Day, New York Mets fans could flip the script about the day and celebrate the good that came out of the decision.

How about Happy Eventual David Wright Day, Mets fans?