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Major League Baseball (MLB) minimum player salary 2003-2020

Major League Baseball has a minimum player salary in place to ensure that its athletes are fairly compensated for the work they do. The MLB minimum salary in 2020 stood at a handsome 563.5 thousand U.S. dollars annually, representing a steady increase each year over the last 15 years.

Money to be made in the MLB

MLB players are known to receive generous yearly salaries, in addition to performance incentives, such as prizes for games won. The average player salary in 2019 was more than seven times higher than the minimum salary, at around 4.36 million U.S. dollars. This also represents almost double the average player salary from 2003, illustrating the rapid boom of money in baseball. However, there are large descrepancies between the salaries offered to players by different franchises. While players at the San Francisco Giants can expect to take home an average of 7.38 million U.S. dollars annually, professionals for the Oakland Athletics have to settle with just 2.09 million U.S. dollars a year on average.

MLB's biggest earners

Certain positions in the MLB, such as first base or starting pitcher, are usually better paid due to the important roles they are considered to have in the game. The highest paid players in the MLB in the 2019 season include Washington Nationals’ pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, and Arizona Diamondbacks’s pitcher, Zack Greinke, with an annual salary of over 34 million U.S. dollars each. In 2019, the Boston Red Sox were the best-paid baseball team in the MLB as the famous franchise based at Fenway Park had an opening day payroll of 213.19 million U.S. dollars. The Miami Marlins, on the other hand, were the most thrifty franchise with an opening day payroll of just under 63 million U.S. dollars.

Minimum player salary in Major League Baseball from 2003 to 2020

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Release date

July 2020


United States

Survey time period

2003 to 2020

Supplementary notes

Data prior to 2011 comes from an earlier article.

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Statistics on "Major League Baseball"

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