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The Highest Paid Players in the MLB
Major League Baseball has some fairly high paid players. Just like other professional sports, this is how players make their livings and it simply stands to reason that they would be paid well. How well they are paid depends on what they bring to the game. The highest paid MLB player in 2012 was Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees paid Rodriguez a whopping $30,000,000 annually which is more than $6 million above Vernon Wells who comes in as the second highest paid MLB player.
There is no hard salary cap in the MLB. They do however have a luxury tax that will apply to any team whose payroll total exceeds previously set thresholds for any given season. Free agency in the MLB never existed before the 1970s so many owners had the authority to completely dictate all of the terms of player negotiations. This resulted in some seriously low salaries for those years.
Babe Ruth, perhaps one of the most memorable of all MLB players in history, earned only about $900,000 for his entire career. Of course, that would have been more than $13,000,000 in today’s terms but when he played in his time, this was considered an outlandish salary even by MLB standards.
Alex Rodriguez has signed not one but two contracts throughout his career that broke salary records. His first signing was a $252 million contract for ten years with the Texas Rangers. The Rangers traded Rodriguez for Alfonso Soriano from the Yankees and agreed to pay $67 million out of the $179 million that was left on his contract when the trade took place. He opted out however after 2007 and negotiated with the Yankees for a $275 million contract over ten years. This effectively broke his own record for the highest salary in MLB history. Under his newly negotiated deal, he will also receive an additional $6 million for tying career homes run totals for other greats such as Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. Understand that Rodriguez gets $6 million for each of these records that he breaks plus another $6 million for breaking Barry Bonds’ mark.
The Yankees had the distinction of owning three of the twenty highest paid MLB players for the 2012 season. Their total team payroll for that season alone was nearly $200,000,000, about $20 million more than the Phillies who have the second highest payroll in the MLB. Yankees managers have received much criticism for their outlandish payroll and many claim that it seems to undermine MLB’s parity. Still, their players are happy and that seems to keep them playing hard and striving to take home the World Series every year.