9) NY Mets worst free agent signing: Bobby Bonilla
Is it possible to do a list of worsts about the Mets and not mention Bobby Bonilla? It is but it’s not much fun.
Contrary to popular belief, Bonilla’s legacy contract that continues to mock the Mets didn’t come through free agency. The Mets reacquired him in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers in November of 1998. He was terrible for them in his one year but that isn’t why he makes this list.
As bad as that contract turned out to be for the Mets, it’s the initial free agent deal he signed prior to 1992 that lands him here. While Bonilla was a two-time All-Star for the Mets in the early 1990s, he fell far from the high expectations.
Those expectations were so high because of what he did with the Pittsburgh Pirates and also how gigantic his deal was at the time. The five-year deal worth $29 million in 1991 was the largest in team sports history. He would have to win at least one MVP to make the deal worth it.
Bonilla saw his numbers immediately decline in 1992 when he slashed .294/.348/.432 with 19 home runs and 70 RBI. Compared to the .302/.391/.492 with 18 home runs and 100 RBI he had the year prior with Pittsburgh, it was a huge disappointment.
Bonilla would hit better in the following years but it wasn’t anything like the Mets had hoped. He was a member of the notorious 1993 club that lost over 100 games. He and his teammates provided the perfect example that you can’t always buy a championship.