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New York Mets Worst Signings And Trades Ever – No. 3 Bobby Bonilla

19 Apr 1999: Bobby Bonilla #25 of the New York Mets looks on during the game against the Montreal Expos at the Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. The Expos defeated the Mets 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport
Al Bello /Allsport

My selection for third worst Mets signing of Bobby Bonilla is for several reasons, not all related to his on-field performance.

Bonilla was an All-Star for four consecutive seasons before he signed a five-year, $29 million deal with Mets prior to the 1992 season. That was a pricey contract at the time and there was an expectation that he would hit at least .280 each season with 100 RBI’s, give or take a few here and there.

In three and half years with the club, he had 91 HR’s and 277 RBI’s – putting him among club leaders during his run with the Mets, but not nearly what he was paid to produce.

Keep in mind his five year, $29-million dollar deal was signed 20 years ago. In 2006, the Mets inked Jose Reyes to a four-year, $23 million deal – and he was not only one of the most exciting players in the game, an offensive catalyst and expected to be one of the franchise’s cornerstones for the next decade.

Bonilla’s attitude made him one of the least liked Mets among fans, despite his decent production. Add to that he threatened one of the authors of the book ‘The Worst Team Money Could Buy’, which was, of course, about the early-90’s Mets. And, he actually used a dugout phone during a game to call the press box to complain after being charged with a fielding error (who does that?).

His first stint with the club ended when he was traded to the Dodgers.

Unbelievably, the Mets actually traded to re-acquire Bonilla in 1999.

This time it was worse. He batted .160 in an injury hampered 60-game season and was in the clubhouse playing cards with Ricky Henderson as the Mets played Game 7 of the 1999 National League Championship Series – a game they ultimately lost to the Braves.

The Wilpon’s wisely wanted to cut Bonilla lose, but instead of paying him the $5.9 million he owed for the following year, they agreed to a ridiculous deferred buyout.

That agreement was that the Mets would pay Bobby 25 annual installments of nearly $1.2 million, from 2011 to 2035 – a total of nearly $30-million when its all said and done.

There are players on the Mets roster currently who make less than that.

No. 2 Jason Bay


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