Highest salaries in Major League Baseball 2019

Highest player salaries in Major League Baseball in 2019 (in million U.S. dollars)

by Christina Gough, last edited May 27, 2019
Highest salaries in Major League Baseball 2019 American professional sports leagues are known for paying their players handsomely and Major League Baseball is no different. The highest earner in the MLB in 2019 was the starting pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Stephen Strasburg. The 30-year-old three-time All-Star took home an annual salary of 38.33 million U.S. dollars in the 2019 season. Due to their prominent role on the team, it is unsurprising that the second highest earning player in the MLB is also a pitcher. Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer earned a salary of 37.41 million U.S. dollars during the 2019 season.
MLB salaries

The MLB has both a minimum player salary and a competitive balance tax (also called Luxury Tax) in place to ensure the league remains competitive and that no single team can buy its way to victory. In 2019, the minimum player salary stood at 555 thousand U.S. dollars, a generous increase from the minimum salary of 400 thousand U.S. dollars ten years earlier. However, because of the astronomical earnings of some of the star players in the league, the average player salary across the MLB was 4.36 million U.S. dollars in 2019. If a team’s payroll exceeds a certain figure, they are forced to pay a luxury tax in order to discourage the largest teams from buying the best players in the league. In 2019, this payroll cap was 206 million U.S. dollars and it will be increased slightly in the coming years.

MLB revenue on the up

In 2018, teams of Major League Baseball generated around 330 million U.S. dollars on average in revenue per team. The New York Yankees sit top of the pile as the franchise generated revenue of 668 million U.S. dollars. On the other end of the scale, the Oakland Athletics had revenue of 218 million U.S. dollars in 2019.
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Highest player salaries in Major League Baseball in 2019 (in million U.S. dollars)

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Salary in million U.S. dollars
Stephen Strasburg38.33
Max Scherzer37.41
Zack Greinke34.5
David Price31
Clayton Kershaw31
Miguel Cabrera30
Yoenis Cespedes29
Albert Pujols28
Justin Verlander28
Felix Hernandez27.86
Jon Lester27.5
Nolan Arenado26
Giancarlo Stanton26
Jake Arrieta25
Jordan Zimmermann25
Joey Votto25
Robinson Cano24
J.D. Martinez23.75
Josh Donaldson23
Jason Heyward22.5
Salary in million U.S. dollars
Stephen Strasburg38.33
Max Scherzer37.41
Zack Greinke34.5
David Price31
Clayton Kershaw31
Miguel Cabrera30
Yoenis Cespedes29
Albert Pujols28
Justin Verlander28
Felix Hernandez27.86
Jon Lester27.5
Nolan Arenado26
Giancarlo Stanton26
Jake Arrieta25
Jordan Zimmermann25
Joey Votto25
Robinson Cano24
J.D. Martinez23.75
Josh Donaldson23
Jason Heyward22.5
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by Christina Gough, last edited May 27, 2019
American professional sports leagues are known for paying their players handsomely and Major League Baseball is no different. The highest earner in the MLB in 2019 was the starting pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Stephen Strasburg. The 30-year-old three-time All-Star took home an annual salary of 38.33 million U.S. dollars in the 2019 season. Due to their prominent role on the team, it is unsurprising that the second highest earning player in the MLB is also a pitcher. Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer earned a salary of 37.41 million U.S. dollars during the 2019 season.
MLB salaries

The MLB has both a minimum player salary and a competitive balance tax (also called Luxury Tax) in place to ensure the league remains competitive and that no single team can buy its way to victory. In 2019, the minimum player salary stood at 555 thousand U.S. dollars, a generous increase from the minimum salary of 400 thousand U.S. dollars ten years earlier. However, because of the astronomical earnings of some of the star players in the league, the average player salary across the MLB was 4.36 million U.S. dollars in 2019. If a team’s payroll exceeds a certain figure, they are forced to pay a luxury tax in order to discourage the largest teams from buying the best players in the league. In 2019, this payroll cap was 206 million U.S. dollars and it will be increased slightly in the coming years.

MLB revenue on the up

In 2018, teams of Major League Baseball generated around 330 million U.S. dollars on average in revenue per team. The New York Yankees sit top of the pile as the franchise generated revenue of 668 million U.S. dollars. On the other end of the scale, the Oakland Athletics had revenue of 218 million U.S. dollars in 2019.
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