2000 Mets Salary and Bonilla’s Pay Days

11 Mar

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By Jim Walters

As we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the 2000 National League Champion New York Mets, today we look at their payroll, and realize how times have changed.We also realize how one bad contract can burn a franchise for a generation.

In 2000, the Mets had only one player who made more than $9 million, with Mike Piazza earning a little over $12 million. Currently, the Mets have seven players who fit in this category.

Al Leiter ranked tops in salary for pitchers, earning $7.75 million. The second highest paid pitcher was Mike Hampton earning $5.75 million before cashing in the following year with the Rockies, which was of course secondary to the fine school system that only Colorado could offer.

The outfield on Opening Day cost the  2000 Mets approximately $14.5 million with Darryl Hamilton in center, Rickey Henderson in left and Derek Bell in right.  This year, the healthy outfield of Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur will earn a combined $ 34 million, a difference of $20 million.  With Beltran out and Pagan in, the combined outfield will still cost more that it did in 2000, with the three earning $16.5 milion.

While the days of Bobby Valentine and Mike Piazza are long gone, the financial arrangements of 2000 still effects this team. Bobby Bonilla, the disgruntled outfielder who was made the highest paid player by the Mets in 1991, was set to make $5.9 million in the year 2000. Tired of his attitude and poor play, New York released the outfielder, ending his second tenure in Flushing. Instead of paying Bonilla the $5.9 they owed him, the genius in the Mets hierarchy decided to defer his pay with interest.

The payment plan kicks in  next year,  July 1, 2011, as the Mets will pay Bonilla $1,193,248.20 every year until 2035. To give this some greater perspective, David Wright will be 51 when Bonilla receives his last paycheck from the Mets.

While Mets fans can scratch their heads over the contracts of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, the financial agreements between Mets ownership and Bobby Bonilla takes the cake.

To read more about the 2000 Mets salary, visit Baseball Almanac.  To read more about this year’s Mets and their payroll, visit CBS sports.

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