LOS ANGELES, CA (AP) - The Los Angeles Dodgers set a major-league record with an Opening-Day payroll of $234 million on Sunday, The Associated Press reported.
A distant second to the Dodgers were the New York Yankees at $199 million. That snapped a six-year streak above the $200 million mark. It also ended a 15-year run as the team with the highest payroll. The previous record for highest Opening-Day payroll was the Yankees doling out $230 last year.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Houston Astros' $45 million payroll was the league's lowest for the second straight season. Just above them at $47 million were the Miami Marlins, also for the second straight year.
Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke is the highest-paid player with a $28 million salary for this season. That ended Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez's 13-year run. Next is Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Phillies lefty Cliff Lee at $25 million each. Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia earns $24.3 million, and Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano and Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder tied for fifth at $24 million apiece.
Among the 853 players on Opening-Day rosters and disabled lists, as well as two suspended players, the average salary was $3.95 million. Last year's average salary to start the season was $3.65 million per player. This year's 8.2% increase was the highest hike since 2006.
The coming years include huge salaries for Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Cabrera will make $292 million over the next 10 years after signing an eight-year extension last week. Trout's six-year, $144.5 million deal takes effect next season.
Figures in the AP study do not include players who started the season in the minor leagues, including Atlanta Braves pitcher Ervin Santana ($14.1 million) and Dodgers second baseman Alex Guerrero ($6.5 million).