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Highest paid MLB players 2024: Top salaries by position, MLB team payrolls and average player salary

Highest paid MLB players 2024
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Who is the highest paid MLB player? Contracts in Major League Baseball, like every other professional sport, are rapidly increasing. A title that once belonged to Gerrit Cole is now owned by Shohei Ohtani, who became the highest-paid MLB player ever this offseason.

Here’s everything you need to know about the highest paid MLB players in 2024, the highest MLB salaries by position and currently projected MLB team payrolls in 2024.

Related: MLB predictions 2024

Highest paid MLB players 2024: Top 5 MLB players salaries

1. Shohei Ohtani, two-way, Los Angeles Dodgers – Highest paid MLB player ever

highest paid MLB players 2024, Shohei Ohtani contract
Mar 3, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Colorado Rockies during a spring training game at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Shohei Ohtani contract: 10 years, $700 million
  • Shohei Ohtani salary: $70 million
  • Shohei Ohtani career earnings: $42.269 million

Shohei Ohtani is the highest-paid player in MLB. After winning his second American League MVP award, Ohtani hit the open market as the most coveted free agent in MLB history. Even with teams recognizing he can’t take the mound in 2024 and understanding there’s risks of him never pitching as a starter again, Ohtani was still made the highest-paid MLB player ever. He’ll serve as a designated hitter for the 2024 season and could return to his status as a two-way player in 2025. At 29 years old, this will likely be the last contract of his major-league career.

Related: Los Angeles Dodgers game today, Dodgers schedule 2024

On Dec. 9, 2023, Ohtani became the highest-paid MLB player ever by signing a 10-year contract worth $700 million. The $70 million average annual salary is unprecedented. For context, Ohtani’s annual average salary is the equivalent of the combined contracts of Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts. It also pushes the Dodgers to the highest MLB payroll in 2024.

2. Max Scherzer, starting pitcher, Texas Rangers – Highest paid pitcher in MLB

MLB: World Series-Texas Rangers at Arizona Diamondbacks
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Max Scherzer contract: 3 years, $130 million (2025 free agent)
  • Max Scherzer salary: $43.333 million
  • Max Scherzer career earnings: $256.241 million

Less than two years after becoming the highest-paid MLB player ever, Max Scherzer was traded to the Texas Rangers midway through the 2023 season. Once having aspirations to win a championship with the New York Mets, Scherzer instead hoised the World Series trophy with the Texas Rangers. Scherzer, who turns 40 next July, might try and pursue one last payday in free agency next winter if he decides he wants to play into his 40s.

Related: MLB mock draft 2024

3. Justin Verlander, starting pitcher, Houston Astros

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros at Texas Rangers
Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports
  • Justin Verlander contract: 2 years, $86.666 million
  • Justin Verlander salary: $43.333 million
  • Justin Verlander career earnings: $350.92 million

The New York Mets are responsible for handing out contracts to the two highest-paid pitchers in MLB history. Fittingly, neither Scherzer nor Justin Verlander are still on the Mets’ roster. Dealt to the Houston Astros at the 2023 MLB trade deadline, Verlander’s contract holds a $35 million vesting option for the 2025 season. If he stays healthy and reaches the 140-inning threshold, Verlander can earn more than $400 million throughout his Hall of Fame career.

Related: Houston Astros game today, Astros schedule 2024

4. Zack Wheeler, starting pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies

Highest paid MLB players
Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler pitches during the seventh inning against the Diamondbacks in Game 7 of the NLCS at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Oct. 24, 2023. Credit: Rob Schumacher / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Zack Wheeler contract: 3 years, $126 million
  • Zack Wheeler salary: $42 million
  • Zack Wheeler career earnings: $94.905 million

The Philadelphia Phillies kept Aaron Nola from leaving them in free agency during the 2023-’24 offseason. Wanting to avoid losing ace Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia didn’t even give him a chance to test the open market. On March 4, Wheeler signed a three-year contract extension worth $126 million. He will finish out his previous five-year, $118 million contract which will pay him a $23.5 million salary in 2025. Beginning in 2025, the right-handed pitcher will be one of the highest-paid MLB players ever with a $42 million salary. Wheeler is now the highest-paid player in Phillies history, beating Bryce Harper’s contract ($25.284 million AAV).

Related: MLB award predictions 2024

5. Aaron Judge, outfielder, New York Yankees

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
  • Aaron Judge contract: 9 years, $360 million (free agent in 2032)
  • Aaron Judge salary: $40 million
  • Aaron Judge career earnings: $76.115 million

During the 2022 MLB Winter Meetings, the New York Yankees made Aaron Judge the highest-paid MLB hitter ever at the time. There was certainly risk in signing a 30-year-old outfielder to a nine-year contract, but the Yankees’ captain earned the deal. Of course, there are risks. Judge missed significant time during the 2023 season with a toe injury. With Juan Soto’s arrival, Judge shifts back to center field and the position switch could be even more taxing on his durability.

6. Jacob deGrom, starting pitcher, Texas Rangers

MLB: Texas Rangers at Pittsburgh Pirates
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
  • Jacob deGrom contract: 5 years, $185 million (free agent in 20209)
  • Jacob deGrom salary: $40 million
  • Jacob deGrom career earnings: $102.659 million

The Texas Rangers signed Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185 million contract in December 2022, making him one of the highest-paid MLB players ever. By June 6, 2023, deGrom was on the season-ending injured list and on the road back from Tommy John surgery. Already 35 years old and turning 36 next season, deGrom faces an uphill battle just to return to the mound. While Verlander is a success story of a pitcher in his late 30s thriving after TJS, deGrom’s contract hasn’t worked out for Texas to this point.

10 highest paid players in MLB 2024

  1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Dodgers – $70 million
  2. Max Scherzer, Texas Rangers – $43.333 million
  3. Justin Verlander, Houston Astros – $43.333 million
  4. Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies – $42 million AAV
  5. Jacob deGrom, Texas Rangers – $40 million
  6. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees – $40 million
  7. Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels – $38.571 million
  8. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels – $37.116 million
  9. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees – $36 million
  10. Patrick Corbin, Washington Nationals – $35.416 million

Highest MLB payrolls 2024

Here are the highest MLB payrolls in 2024, per FanGraphs.com. Current MLB payroll projections include forecasted arbitration salaries. We’ll provide updates following each marquee offseason signing and in-season blockbuster trade.

Who has the highest MLB payroll?

The New York Mets have the highest MLB payroll in 2204 at $316 million. The Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers ($304 million) are the only two MLB teams with a $300 million payroll.

Related: New York Mets game today, Mets schedule 2024

Who has the lowest MLB payroll?

The Oakland Athletics have the lowest MLB payroll in 2024 at $61 million, which is $24 million less than the team with the second-lowest payroll (Pittsburgh Pirates).

Related: MLB trade rumors 2024

10 highest MLB payrolls 2024

  1. New York Mets – $316 million
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers – $304 million
  3. New York Yankees – $297 million
  4. Philadelphia Phillies – $246 million
  5. Houston Astros – $240 million
  6. Toronto Blue Jays – $236 million
  7. Atlanta Braves – $231 million
  8. Chicago Cubs – $224 million
  9. Texas Rangers – $220 million
  10. San Francisco Giants – $208 million

Lowest MLB payrolls 2024

  1. Oakland Athletics – $61 million
  2. Pittsburgh Pirates – $85 million
  3. Cleveland Guardians – $97 million
  4. Baltimore Orioles – $97 million
  5. Tampa Bay Rays – $99 million
  6. Miami Marlins – $102 million
  7. Cincinnati Reds – $102 million
  8. Detroit Tigers – $110 million
  9. Milwaukee Brewers – $110 million
  10. Kansas City Royals – $116 million

Highest paid MLB players by position 2024

The breakdown of the highest paid players in MLB by position is based on 2024 salaries.

Highest-paid catchers in MLB – AAV

  1. J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies – $23.875 million salary
  2. Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals – $20 million salary
  3. Willson Contreras, St. Louis Cardinals – $18 million salary
  4. James McCann, Baltimore Orioles – $12.15 million salary
  5. Mitch Garver, Seattle Mariners – $10.5 million salary

Related: Fastest MLB players

Highest-paid first basemen in MLB

  1. Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies – $27.538 million salary
  2. Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers – $27 million salary
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals – $26 million salary
  4. Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves – $22 million salary
  5. Pete Alonso, New York Mets – $20.5 million

Related: MLB standings

Highest-paid second baseman in MLB

  1. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros – $31.5 million salary
  2. Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers – $30 million salary
  3. Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers – $26 million salary
  4. Javier Baez, Detroit Tigers – $25 million salary
  5. Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees – $14.2 million salary

Related: Babe Ruth vs Josh Gibson

Highest-paid shortstops in MLB

  1. Corey Seager, Texas Rangers – $35 million salary
  2. Francisco Lindor, New York Mets – $34.1 million salary
  3. Carlos Correa, Minnesota Twins$33.333 million salary
  4. Trea Turner, Philadelphia Phillies – $27.272 million salary
  5. Dansby Swanson, Chicago Cubs – $26 million salary

Related: MLB trade candidates 2024

Highest-paid third baseman in MLB

  1. Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels – $38.571 million salary
  2. Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals – $35 million salary
  3. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros – $30.5 million salary
  4. Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox – $29.318 million salary
  5. Kris Bryant, Colorado Rockies – $28 million salary

Related: Guide to MLB.TV

Highest-paid outfielders in MLB

  1. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees – $40 million salary
  2. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels – $37.116 million salary
  3. Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees – $32 million salary
  4. Juan Soto, New York Yankees – $30 million salary
  5. Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers – $30 million salary
  6. Kris Bryant, Colorado Rockies – $28 million salary
  7. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers – $26 million salary
  8. George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays – $24.166 million salary
  9. Teoscar Hernandez, Los Angeles Dodgers – $23.5 million salary
  10. Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs – $21 million salary
  11. Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs – $21 million salary

Related: Longest MLB playoff, World Series droughts

Highest-paid pitchers in 2024

  1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Dodgers – $70 million
  2. Max Scherzer, Texas Rangers – $43.333 million
  3. Justin Verlander, Houston Astros – $43.333 million
  4. Jacob deGrom, Texas Rangers – $40 million
  5. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees – $36 million
  6. Patrick Corbin, Washington Nationals – $35.416 million
  7. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals – $35 million
  8. Blake Snell, San Francisco Giants – $31 million
  9. Carlos Rodon, New York Yankees – $27.833 million
  10. Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies – $24.571 million

Highest-paid relievers in MLB 2023

  1. Edwin Diaz, New York Mets – $19.65 million
  2. Josh Hader, Houston Astros – $19 million
  3. Kenley Jansen, Boston Red Sox – $16 million
  4. Raisel Iglesias, Atlanta Braves – $16 million
  5. Nick Martinez, Cincinnati Reds – $14 million
  6. Ryan Pressly, Houston Astros – $14 million
  7. Craig Kimbrel, Baltimore Orioles – $12 million
  8. Anthony DeSclafani, Minnesota Twins – $12 million
  9. Taylor Rogers, San Francisco Giants – $12 million
  10. Rafael Montero, Houston Astros – $11.5 million

Highest paid MLB players FAQ

What is the average MLB salary?

The average MLB salary in 2023 is $4.9 million, according to Richard Blum of the Associated Press. It represents an 11.1 percent increase from last season and sets a new record for the highest-average salary in MLB history. With revenues increasing each season, salaries are expected to keep rising in the years to come.

The average MLB salary in 2022 was $4.2 million, per Front Office Sports. It marks a 14.8% increase from the average salaries for MLB players compared to the 2021 season. More importantly, it’s the first time in four years that the average MLB salary increased.

A huge part of that is rising MLB salaries across the board, thanks to league revenue skyrocketing. It’s not just the top players cashing in, though, veterans and the proverbial journeymen are landing multi-year deals with more money.

What is the minimum salary for MLB in 2023?

The minimum salary for an MLB player in 2023 is $720,000 if they are on the active roster or injured list for one of the 30 major league teams. It comes after years of the MLB Players Association pushing for the league’s minimum salary to be increased, pushing closer to the NFL and NBA.

Highest MLB payrolls: Which team has the highest payroll in MLB?

The New York Yankees have the highest MLB payroll in 2024.

How much do minor league baseball players make? 2023 MILB salaries

Minor league baseball players officially joined the MLBPA in 2023, gaining bargaining power and additional rights like their peers in the majors. Thanks to the partnership, MiLB salaries spiked dramatically in 2023.

MILB salaries by level

  • Rookie ball: $19,800 (previously $4,800)
  • Low-Class A: $26,200 (previously $11,000)
  • High A: $27,300 (previously $11,000)
  • Double-A: $30,250 (previously $13,800)
  • Triple-A: $35,800 (previously $17,500)

Highest paid players in MLB: Examining the top MLB salaries in 2024

Anthony Rendon, third baseman, Los Angeles Angels

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
  • Anthony Rendon contract: 7 years, $245 million
  • Anthony Rendon salary 2023: $38.571 million
  • Anthony Rendon career earnings: $127.244 million

Coming off a World Series title and an All-MLB First Team selection with the Washington Nationals, Anthony Rendon hit the market at the perfect time. The Angels, responsible for paying two of the highest-paid MLB players, struck a deal with the All-Star third baseman. Rendon’s contract extends through 2026, his age-36 season, and includes a no-trade clause.

Related: MLB stadium rankings

Rendon is the second highest-paid hitter in MLB right now, earning slightly more than teammate Mike Trout. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, Rendon only played in 47 games last season and has played in a combined 157 games since he signed with the Angels.

Mike Trout, outfielder, Los Angeles Angels

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Angels-Workouts
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
  • Mike Trout contact: 12 years, $426.5 million
  • Mike Trout salary: $37.116 million
  • Mike Trout career earnings: $198 million

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout hasn’t appeared in the MLB playoffs since 2014, his only postseason experience. While the franchise’s baseball moves always provide reasoning for him to leave, the three-time AL MVP and one of the best players in MLB history couldn’t pass on a historic contract. Signed to a 12-year deal worth $425 million signed one of the biggest contracts in sports history, Every single dollar of the $426.5 million is guaranteed and the deal doesn’t expire until 2031. Not bad for a player selected with the 25th pick in the 2009 MLB Draft.

Related: What is the highest batting average ever?

Gerrit Cole, starting pitcher, New York Yankees

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
  • Gerrit Cole contract: 9 years, $324 million
  • Gerrit Cole salary: $36 million
  • Gerrit Cole career earnings: $120.222 million

When the Yankees signed Cole to a nine-year deal worth $324 million in December 2019, it marked the biggest contract ever signed by a pitcher. Furthermore, Cole’s $36 million salary surpassed Trout’s AAV. An All-MLB First Team selection in 2019 and 2021, Cole’s deal includes a full no-trade clause and includes a player option after 2024.

If he exercises the opt-out – $144 million over four seasons – the Yankees can extend a counter-proposal to include a $36 million salary in 2029, Cole’s age-38 season, which would bring the total value of the contract to $360 million. In 2023, Cole won the AL Cy Young Award for the first time in his career.

Related: MLB games today

Carlos Correa, shortstop, Minnesota Twins

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
  • Carlos Correa contract: Six year, $200 million
  • Carlos Correa salary: $33.33 million AAV

Carlos Correa initially became one of the highest-paid players in MLB for the 2023 season when he inked a 13-year, $350 million deal with the San Francisco Giants for an average annual salary of $26.92 million.

That deal fell through immediately ahead of the press conference to make it official when Correa failed his physical. There was a difference of opinion between the Giants’ front office and Correa’s camp, led by Scott Boras.

Correa then turned around and inked a 12-year, $315 million deal with the free-spending Mets. Soon after, New York’s doctors came away with the same concerns as the Giants’ medical staff. The deal never went through, allowing Correa to return to Minnesota on a six-year contract worth $200 million and the deal is now official.

Manny Machado, third baseman, San Diego Padres

Syndication: Arizona Republic
Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

After signing a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres in February 2019, All-Star third baseman Manny Machado landed a new contract on Feb. 26, 2023. Machado held a player opt-out following the 2023 season that would’ve allowed him to become one of the top free agents next winter. Instead, he worked out an extension with San Diego.

As first reported by Jeff Passan, Machado signed an 11-year contract extension worth $350 million. Turning 31 years old in July, the new contract will take Machado into his 40s and allow him to finish his career in San Diego.

Related: MLB stadium rankings

Machado’s contract includes a full no-trade clause, providing him with complete control over his future. Furthermore, there are no opt-outs in the 11-year deal meaning he will likely finish his career with the Padres.

Rafael Devers, third base, Boston Red Sox

Rafael Devers contract
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
  • Rafael Devers contract: 11 years, $332 million
  • Rafael Devers salary: $30.18 million

Boston finally did it. The team locked up one of its young stars after losing the likes of Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts over the past few seasons. Devers was slated to hit free agency following the 2023 season. After agreeing to avoid arbitration, he inked the largest contract in franchise history and is now the highest-paid third baseman in MLB history. Good for him.

Trea Turner, shortstop, Philadelphia Phillies

MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
  • Trea Turner contract: 11 years, $300 million
  • Trea Turner salary: $27.272 million

While Trea Turner isn’t one of the highest paid players in MLB in terms of salary, he signed one of the largest contracts in MLB history. The All-Star shortstop became just the 10th player to sign a $300 million contract, a list that includes one of his teammates. Similar to the Bryce Harper contract ($330 million), the Philadelphia Phillies added years to Turner’s deal to lower the base salary.

Related: Longest hitting streaks ever

Highest paid closer in baseball

MLB: Wild Card-San Diego Padres at New York Mets
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Edwin Díaz is the highest-paid closer in MLB history, signed to a five-year contract worth $102 million. Diaz will make $20.4 million per year. He also signed the largest contract ever for a closer, becoming the first reliever to receive a $100 million contract.

Who is the highest paid MLB player ever?

NFL: Super Bowl LIV-San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs
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It should come as no surprise that Alex Rodriguez is atop the list for MLB career earnings. According to Spotrac, the baseball legend earned $455.159 million across his entire career. Incredibly, even after stepping away after the 2016 season, he still earned an additional $39 million from the Yankees and Rangers through 2020.

MLB leaders in career earnings

After signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract to finish his Hall of Fame career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert Pujols gains even more separation from Miguel Cabrera for the active record of the highest paid MLB player ever.

However, Cabrera will pass him in 2023 because he is still under contract for a $32 million salary in each of the next two seasons. By the end of his MLB career, Cabrera will have earned nearly $400 million in total salary.

  • Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals: $339.21 million
  • Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers: $321 million
  • Justin Verlander, Houston Astros: $274.588 million
  • Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals: $252 million
  • Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers: $251.34 million

The club option can either be for eight years or 10 years on top of the base value of the contract with the figures on a range determined on yearly MVP results. If Rodriguez doesn’t live up to his potential, it can be as low as the $200 million range. However, the All-Star outfielder becoming a perennial MVP candidate would push it toward $350 million and he would be guaranteed $320 million total if the option is exercised.

If Seattle fails to exercise the option after 2027, Rodriguez holds a player option after the eighth season for a five-year and $90 million add-on. If he takes that route, it will put into effect the 13-year, $210 million deal that was first reported.

Rodriguez won’t be one of the highest paid players in MLB in 2023 or 2024. However, the maximum value of the contract will allow him to become one of the highest paid MLB players ever if he lives up to his potential.

Shohei Ohtani contract and 2023 salary

The Los Angeles Angels made history with the Shohei Ohtani contract. Before he came arbitration-eligible for the final time, Los Angeles signed their two-way sensation to the largest arbitration contract ever and the largest year-to-year salary increase in MLB history. After making $5.5 million in 2022, Ohtani will receive $30 million fully guaranteed during the 2023 MLB season.

It will be the final season of his contract before he becomes the No. 1 MLB free agent in 2024. Once he hits the open market, expect Ohtani to become the highest paid MLB player ever. At a minimum, he will likely pull in an AAV of $50 million per season. He is one of the best pitchers in baseball and a threat to hit 35-plus home runs with a .900-plus OPS. Combine that with his marketability and there will be multiple teams willing to offer a multi-year contract worth at least $50 million per season.

Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto will become highest paid MLB players in years ahead

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics
D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of stars set to join the ranks of the highest paid MLB players in the coming years, look no further than Shohei Ohtani. The two-way phenom will be the top MLB free agent in 2024 and is expected to receive offers worth at least $50 million per season, giving him the chance to sign the first $500 million contract.

As for Juan Soto, joining a playoff contender like the San Diego Padres probably isn’t enough to keep him out of MLB free agency in 2025. He’ll only be 26 years old and his production through his first four seasons puts him in historic company. Barring a career-altering injury or unexpected regression, Soto will sign the first $500 million contract to become one of the highest paid players in MLB.

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