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Home Maury Brown Inside the Numbers: Salaries for the 818 Players on Opening Day Payrolls

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Inside the Numbers: Salaries for the 818 Players on Opening Day Payrolls PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 09 April 2009 07:41

UPDATE: A PDF with the salaries for all 818 players on the 2009 Opening Day rosters is now available. Select Read More to access.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the Opening Day payrolls for each of the 30 clubs in MLB, based off of USA Today’s salary information. That analysis showed that heading into the 2009 season, the total amount spent on Opening Day player payroll in Major League Baseball declined 1.56 percent from last season marking the first decline in team spending since 2004 when the league saw clubs spend 2.69 percent less on player payroll than 2003.

We also reported that based on the steep increase from 2007 to 2008, the decline in player payroll could be considered an adjustment to more reasonable levels, given the recession.

But, that research was at the club level. How about the salaries for the players that comprise the club totals?

Based on salary information for the 818 players on Opening Day rosters (including players on the DL) obtained from The Associated Press, here’s some vital stats.

While there is a decline in overall spending, the average salary is $3,240,206, up 2.7 percent from last year. This is due to less players being on the DL going into the season, where replacement players are often paid the league minimum. According to Ronald Blum of The AP, just 69 players started the season on disabled lists, down from 106 last year.

The Yankees see the highest total Opening Day payroll ($201,449,289) and highest average salary ($7,748,050). Based on average salary, the next highest in spending are the Cubs ($5,402,000), Mets ($4,849,071), Phillies ($4,185,335), Tigers ($4,110,184), and Red Sox ($4,089,867).

Here is the average player salary, by League:

  • American League: $3,371,417
  • National League: $3,121,812

At the Division level, the Yankees and Cubs skew the average salary for the AL East and the NL Central upwards, while the steep cuts by the Padres lower the NL West to an average salary below $3 million. The following is the average salary by Division:

  • AL East: $3,852,904
  • NL Central: $3,397,057
  • AL Central: $3,154,315
  • NL East: $3,132,243
  • AL West: $3,040,435
  • NL West: $2,792,455

Six of the 10 top paid players in 2009 hail from the National League, with three of the top five coming from the Yankees.

Select Read More to see more details on player salaries

Here are the top 10 highest paid players in MLB for 2009

Top 10 Salaries - MLB
Player Salary Club Division
†Alex Rodriguez $33,000,000
Yankees AL East
Manny Ramirez
Dodgers NL West
Derek Jeter $21,600,000
Yankees AL East
Mark Teixeira
Yankees AL East
Carlos Beltran
Mets NL East
Carlos Lee $19,000,000
Astros NL Central
Magglio Ordonez
Tigers AL Central
Johan Santana $18,876,139
Mets NL East
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs NL Central
Barry Zito $18,500,000
Giants NL West

At the league level, here are the top 10 highest paid players for the American League

Top 10 Salaries - American League
Player Salary Club Division
†Alex Rodriguez $33,000,000
Yankees AL East
Derek Jeter $21,600,000
Yankees AL East
Mark Teixeira
Yankees AL East
Magglio Ordonez
Tigers AL Central
Torii Hunter $18,000,000
Angels AL West
†Ichiro Suzuki
Mariners AL West
A.J. Burnett $16,500,000
Yankees AL East
C.C. Sabathia $15,285,714
Yankees AL East
Vladimir Guerrero
Angels AL West
Mariano Rivera
Yankees AL East

Here are the top 10 highest paid players in the National League

Top 10 Salaries - National League
Player Salary Club Division
Manny Ramirez
Dodgers NL West
Carlos Beltran
Mets NL East
Carlos Lee $19,000,000
Astros NL Central
Johan Santana $18,876,139
Mets NL East
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs NL Central
Barry Zito $18,500,000
Giants NL West
Alfonso Soriano
$17,000,000 Cubs NL Central
Aramis Ramirez
Cubs NL Central
Todd Helton $16,600,000
Rockies NL West
† Tim Hudson $15,500,000
Braves NL East

† Started season on DL

The average salary for the top 10 players in the American League is $19,198,231, while the average salary for the top 10 players in the National League comes out to $18,422,432, or an average difference of $775,799.

Eighty-Six players, or 11 percent of the 818 players on Opening Day player payrolls will earn $10 million or more. All told, these 86 players will earn $1,178,536,759. In other words, 11 percent of the players earn 44 percent of the total amount spent on player payroll heading into Opening Day.

The 86 players break down as follows:

Yankees (9)

  • Rodriguez - $33,000,000
  • Jeter - $21,600,000
  • Teixeira - $20,625,000
  • Burnett - $16,500,000
  • Sabathia - $15,285,714
  • Rivera - $15,000,000
  • Posada - $13,100,000
  • Damon - $13,000,000
  • Matsui - $13,000,000

Cubs (6)

  • Zambrano - $18,750,000
  • Soriano - $17,000,000
  • Ramirez - $16,900,000
  • Lee - $13,250,000
  • Lilly - $13,000,000
  • Fukudome - $12,500,000

Angels (5)

  • Hunter - $18,000,000
  • Guerrero - $15,000,000
  • Matthews - $10,400,000
  • Escobar - $10,000,000
  • Lackey - $10,000,000

Mets (5)

  • Beltran - $19,243,683
  • Santana - $18,876,139
  • Delgado - $12,000,000
  • Perez - $12,000,000
  • Wagner - $10,500,000

Tigers (5)

  • Ordonez - $18,971,596
  • Cabrera - $14,383,049
  • Bonderman - $12,500,000
  • Guillen¬† - $10,000,000
  • Willis - $10,000,000

White Sox (5)

  • Buehrle - $14,000,000
  • Thome - $13,000,000
  • Konerko - $12,000,000
  • Dye - $11,500,000
  • Contreras - $10,000,000

Astros (4)

  • Lee - $19,000,000
  • Tejada - $14,811,415
  • Berkman - $14,500,000
  • Oswalt - $14,000,000

Braves (4)

  • Hudson - $15,500,000
  • Lowe - $15,000,000
  • Vazquez - $11,500,000
  • Jones - $10,000,000

Dodgers (4)

  • Ramirez - $23,854,494
  • Schmidt - $15,217,401
  • Kuroda¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† - $12,433,333
  • Pierre - $10,000,000

Phillies (4)

  • Howard - $15,000,000
  • Myers - $12,083,333
  • Lidge - $12,000,000
  • Utley - $11,285,714

Red Sox (4)

  • Drew - $14,000,000
  • Ortiz - $13,000,000
  • Lowell - $12,500,000
  • Beckett - $11,166,667

Blue Jays (3)

  • Halladay - $14,250,000
  • Ryan - $12,000,000
  • Rolen - $11,625,000

Cardinals (3)

  • Pujols - $14,427,327
  • Carpenter - $13,302,584
  • Glaus - $12,137,000

Indians (3)

  • Hafner - $11,500,000
  • Westbrook - $10,000,000
  • Wood - $10,000,00

Mariners (3)

  • Suzuki - $18,000,000
  • Beltre - $13,400,000
  • Silva - $12,250,000

Rangers (3)

  • Millwood - $13,336,116
  • Young - $13,054,527
  • Padilla - $12,000,000

Reds (3)

  • Cordero - $12,125,000
  • Harang - $11,000,000
  • Arroyo - $10,125,000

Twins (3)

  • Morneau - $11,600,000
  • Nathan - $11,250,000
  • Mauer - $10,500,000

A’s (2)

  • Holliday - $13,500,000
  • Chavez - $11,500,000

Brewers (2)

  • Suppan - $12,750,000
  • Cameron - $10,000,000

Royals (2)

  • Guillen¬† - $12,000,000
  • Meche - $11,400,000

D-Backs (1)

  • Byrnes - $11,666,667

Giants (1)

  • Zito - $18,500,000

Padres (1)

  • Peavy - $11,000,000

Rockies (1)

  • Helton - $16,600,000

On the flip side, 68 players, or 8.31 percent of the total, will earn the league minimum of $400,000 this season. Unsurprisingly, the Marlins who posted (yet again) the lowest player payroll in the league see 10 players at the league minimum, followed by the A’s (6), Cardinals, Nationals, and Padres (5).

Six clubs did not have a player making the league minimum on Opening Day. They are the Diamondbacks, Rays, Royals, Rockies, Astros, and Dodgers.

Finally, the median salary for the league increased by $150,000 to $1.15 million, a new record high.

Note: Figures don't include termination pay to released players, such as $13.6 million Gary Sheffield is owed by Detroit, so the Tigers' spending is closer to $129 million.

Click to see salaries for all 818 players
on the 2009 Opening Day Payroll (PDF)

 Source: The Associated Press

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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