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Bobby Bonilla Day: As New York Mets pay Bonilla, Mariners fans shouldn’t forget Ichiro Suzuki contract details

Bobby Bonilla Interview
Bobby Bonilla is still getting paid by the New York Mets every season. Pic credit: Sports Illustrated/YouTube

Bobby Bonilla Day has arrived in Major League Baseball. July 1 is the day when the New York Mets make their yearly payment to Bonilla, who has long since retired from the game.

The Mets signed Bonilla in 1991, hoping that he could continue putting up the numbers that made him a Silver Slugger and All-Star for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team would end up trading him to the Baltimore Orioles but brought back Bonilla in a 1998 trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Following the 1999 season, the Mets and Bonilla agreed to defer his $5.9 million salary for the 2000 MLB season. The Mets wanted to spend the money on other players and Bonilla’s agent thought it was a good move to defer salary.

Bobby Bonilla Day

Each July 1, running from 2011 to 2035, Bonilla gets a check of roughly $1.9 million from the Mets. His deferred salary, which had an annual interest rate of eight percent, has led to him making a fortune in the long-run.

It has become a long-running joke that the Mets made a really bad move here, while Bonilla and his agent came away looking like geniuses. But Bonilla isn’t the only player to defer payments like this.

Ichiro Suzuki contract details

In 2007, the Seattle Mariners gave Ichiro Suzuki a very nice contract extension. It called for Ichiro to make $90 million over five seasons, with $25 million of that contract deferred.

Ichiro and the Mariners agreed to defer $5 million per season at 5.5 percent interest. Beginning on January 30 after the year that he retires, Ichiro will begin receiving annual payments.

Ichiro was also able to defer $7 million from his first contract (2001-2003). That money has been accruing interest over the years as well. The Mariners will have until 2032 to pay out the balance of the deferred money plus the interest it has accrued.

It’s unclear just how much money that the Seattle Mariners now owe Ichiro Suzuki, but he will remain on the payroll for a few more years. The team may have a plan to pay a lump sum of what they owe him during the 2020 season or it could be split out over several years. Either way, Ichiro has some very nice paydays coming.

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