The New York Yankees had owned baseball’s biggest payroll in each of the past 15 seasons. That streak ended on Tuesday, as the Los Angeles Dodgers and their projected payroll of $235 million topped all of Major League Baseball.
The last time the Yankees weren’t atop the payroll rankings was way back in 1998. This year they came in a distant second at $208 million, while the Philadelphia Phillies ($180 million), Boston Red Sox ($163 million) and Detroit Tigers ($162 million) rounded out the top five.
Alex Rodriguez’s suspension this season has helped the Yankees keep costs down. He was originally due to earn $25 million this year, but thanks to his ban he will make just over $3.8 million instead. Dodgers righty Zack Greinke is baseball’s highest-paid player this season as he will make $24 million in salary, plus $4 million more as part of his signing bonus.
This season also marks the first time that the average major league salary has topped $4 million. To put that in perspective, when Yankees captain Derek Jeter entered the majors in 1995, the opening day average was $1.07 million.
After Greinke the highest-paid players in the game are as follows: Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee ($25 million), the Yankees’ CC Sabathia ($24.3 million), and Seattle’s Robinson Cano and Texas’ Prince Fielder ($24 million).
The Houston Astros bring up the bottom of the majors with a $45 million payroll, but that is up significantly from $27 million at the start of last season. The Miami Marlins are 29th at $48 million.
It is shocking to see someone other than the Yankees atop the payroll rankings. But the Dodgers have been on a ridiculous spending spree over the past few years. We’ll see if it leads to wins this season.