Bobby Bonilla is the face of deferred contracts and annual stipends in sports: Every July 1 through 2035, he receives a check from the New York Mets for $1.19 million.
However, Chris Davis laughs off the Bonilla deal (which actually went pretty well for the Mets, more on that later).
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In his heyday, Davis was known as one of the best pure home run hitters in the game. The former Baltimore Oriole hit an MLB-high 53 home runs in 2013. Two seasons later, in a contract year, he led the majors again with 47. From 2012 to 2016, he hit 197 home runs in 743 games, an average of 39 per season. , and the most in baseball in that span.
Following his 47-homer, 117-RBI campaign in 2015, the Orioles re-signed the then-29-year-old to a seven-year contract worth $161 million, but it turned out to be arguably the worst contract in league history. MLB, and it looks even worse after his retirement.
In his first season under the new deal, Davis still managed to park 38 home runs, but for the second straight season, he led the majors with 219 strikeouts (he had 208 the year before). After that, however, he went downhill.
From 2017 to 2020, he failed to play in 130 games each season, and he hit just .185 with a .615 OPS, striking out in 37.4 percent of his plate appearances. In 2019, he had a 54-0 slump. He hung up the cleats in 2021 after missing the entire season with multiple injuries.
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Davis would have been owed $17 million for the 2022 season, the finale of his contract. The Orioles will give that salary in deferred payments, but the original contract he signed had a lot of those, too. In fact, Davis will earn a whopping $59 million over the next 14 years without even dressing.
According to Codify, the Orioles will pay Davis $9.16 million per year from 2023 through 2025, followed by payments of $3.5 million over the next seven years. From 2033 to 2037, Davis will earn $1.4 million per season.
At least in Bonilla’s case, the Mets picked up some decent consolation prizes.
When the Mets bought Bonilla, it freed up money to bring in 1999 NL Cy Young Award finalist Mike Hampton, who played a huge role in getting the Mets to the World Series in 2000. the Mets in free agency (he pitched to a 4.84 ERA for the rest of his career), received a compensatory pick in the MLB Draft; that selection turned out to be David Wright, who was making a Hall of Fame case before injuries derailed his career in 2014.
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The Orioles don’t have a consolation prize. In fact, the Davis agreement is not the only one that secures them for the future.
Baltimore will also pay Alex Cobb $1.8 million per year from 2023 to 2032. Cobb last played for the O’s in 2020.