The average Major League Baseball salary has eclipsed the $4 million mark, according to the annual study conducted by the Associated Press.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw tops all players with a $31 million salary for 2015. Detroit’s Justin Verlander and fellow Dodgers starter Zack Greinke follow behind last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner. Josh Hamilton of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim leads all position players with a 2015 check of $25.4 million.
Neither Babe Ruth, nor Joe DiMaggio, nor Mickey Mantle ever made more than $100,000 in a season.
For the second year in a row, the Dodgers lead the majors in payroll. They divvy out $270 million this season. The Yankees and Red Sox follow far behind, with the Miami Marlins spending the least at $65 million. The Yankees reigned in payroll since the late 1990s until LA’s recent spending spree.
The Yankees and Red Sox missed the playoffs last season, and the Dodgers crashed hard in the postseason. The Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles played among a group of smaller-market teams that fared well in 2014. The San Francisco Giants, who ultimately triumphed over the Royals in the World Series, rank fifth in payroll this season despite losing Pablo Sandoval and Mike Morse to free agency.
The average salary reached $1 million in 1992, $2 million in 2001, and $3 million in 2008.