Every July 1 since 2011—and running through 2035—former New York Mets slugger Bobby Bonilla gets a $1.19 million payment as dividends for a deferred paycheck schedule the Mets agreed to when they bought out Bonilla's contract before the 2000 season. Today is usually an opportunity for lazy sportswriters to comment on the Mets' shaky financial status and past organizational decision making, but it turns out that the Mets' deferred deal with Bonilla has worked out very nicely in their favor.
USA Today columnist and taco enthusiast Ted Berg has highlighted how even though Bonilla was among the Mets' highest-paid players despite having been retired for more than a decade, without the buyout the Mets' future may have unfolded much differently.
As Dan Lewis laid out in great detail here on Amazin' Avenue, with the money they saved on Bonilla the Mets were able to trade for Mike Hampton, who was an integral part of their 2000 National League Championship team. Moreover, when Hampton signed with the Rockies that offseason, the Mets received a compensatory first-round draft pick that they used to draft a young man named David Wright, who is one of the two or three best position players in franchise history.
Bonilla was also a lightning rod of criticism from fans and the team for his attitude at the time, so not only did they rid themselves of that unpleasantness, but they improved their on-field talent in both the short and long terms. Even despite all of those direct and indirect benefits, the buyout may even have been defensible on its own from an economic standpoint, thanks to the magic of compounding interest.