HAPPY BOBBY BONILLA PAY DAY! Because in 2000, Bonilla agreed to waive his $5.9M option in exchange for $1,193,248.20 annually from 2011-2035, which may not have been unreasonable at the time. As the WSJ summarized in 2010
In fact, according to Mr. Gilbert [Bonilla's financial planner], the only real sticking point in the deal was the interest rate. The two sides eventually agreed on 8 percent. In January 2000, the U.S. Prime Rate was 8.5 percent, according to FedPrimeRate.com.
Years earlier, Mr. Gilbert had negotiated with former Mets general manager Al Harazin a similar deal for Bret Saberhagen, who pitched for the team from 1992 to 1995. For 25 years starting in 2004, Mr. Saberhagen receives annual deferred payments of $250,000. So when the Mets decided to buy out Mr. Bonilla's contract, they had precedent and a template already in place for such an agreement.
By postponing their payments to Mr. Bonilla for 11 years, the Mets freed enough money to trade for starting pitcher Mike Hampton and outfielder Derek Bell and sign first baseman Todd Zeile. Those three players earned a combined $15.1 million in 2000, and the Mets reached the World Series that year for the first time since 1986.