New York Mets plans to make deferred payments to Edwin Diaz until 2042

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz gets money from the Mets until 2042Image: Getty Images

A few days ago, the New York Mets officially signed Edwin Díaz to a five-year deal worth $102 million, easily the largest contract ever for a reliever. The details of Díaz’ contract are as follows:

Díaz will receive a $12 million signing bonus, payable beginning January 2023. Díaz will earn a salary of $17.25 million in both 2023 and 2024. In 2025 he will earn $17.5 million in 2026 and 2027 but must decide on both before the start of the 2026 season.

There’s also a tidbit about how the Mets can also exercise a sixth-year team option that would net Díaz $17.25 million in 2028. Should they forgo that option, New York would owe their closer a $1 million buyout.

Well, with a normal contract, that would be the end of the discussion, but this is the Mets we’re talking about. The Amazins will reportedly pay Díaz $26.5 million between 2033 and 2042 on top of his $102 million contract (possibly $118.25 million).

If this sounds like it’s happened before, that’s because it happened. In 2000, the Mets offered to pay for Bobby Bonilla’s $5.9 million, 25-year contract at 8 percent interest beginning in 2011, hoping the money they put into Bernie Madoff would pay huge dividends . Spoiler Alert! It didn’t. The infamous Ponzi scheme fell apart and in the 11 years since they released The Outfielder, Bonilla’s $5.9 million contract has soared in value to $29.8 million. The Metropolitans are paying out that contract today and will continue to give Bonilla just over $1.19 million through July 1, 2035. It is widely regarded as one of the worst contracts in baseball history.

Now the circumstances surrounding this Díaz contract are different. As far as we know, the Mets property isn’t heavily invested in any pyramid scheme, and there’s no promise of interest for Díaz, so the deferral agreements should stay where they are throughout the contract. However, why would the Mets feel the need to do this? Why not just pay Díaz in full? Maybe the Mets just don’t want to spend more money right now. They’re already predicted to have one of the highest payrolls in baseball, and when you add that an extra $26.5 million over the next five years ($5.3 million annually) is way too much for Steve Cohen would be. He has indicated that he doesn’t want to spend too much more than $300 million on the team next year.

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However, that only makes this contract slightly better for the Mets. It’s obviously a great thing for Díaz, who will be making $2.65 million annually for a decade after probably several years of retirement. Perhaps the tradition of Bobby Bonilla was so ingrained in the Mets fandom that they couldn’t let the meme die. Bonilla’s contract ends in 2035, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Díaz’s deferrals start a little earlier. New York will now owe former players money every year until 2042. No other team is in anything remotely similar. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t think that’s a coincidence. This was planned. The Mets know it’s a bad deal, but they’re doing it anyway. That’s commitment to the bit, commitment to the Bonilla debacle, and if that’s really the case, my respect for Steve Cohen just skyrocketed.