Sports

The MLB teams Paying Its Players the Most

Baseball Pitcher Throwing ball, selective focus
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Baseball is the second most popular sport in the United States, earning billions annually. With 162 regular season games across the league, it’s believed baseball is an $11.3 billion per year business. This roughly equals $378 million per team, making baseball quite the money maker. Of course, some teams bring in more revenue with sponsorships, TV rights, and other revenue sources. 

With this in mind, we can look at how they spend their money. At the top of each team’s expenditures are its players' salaries. It’s safe to say that baseball salaries are right up there with basketball and football salaries, with some players earning astronomical amounts yearly. Thankfully, using data provided by Sportrac, we can see which teams are paying the most in descending order down to number one. 

Why Are We Covering This?

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Baseball is America’s favorite pastime.

Given the amount of money spent on baseball every summer and fall, it’s safe to say these are big economic contributors to the 30 teams that play professionally in the U.S. Each of these teams partners with big-name brands that we regularly cover on this site in the form of partnerships, stadium naming rights, and a dozen other revenue possibilities. This makes covering baseball feel like a tight fit with our content direction. 

15. Kansas City Royals

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The Kansas City Royals are a good baseball team but overshadowed by the city’s football team.
  • Total payroll: $95,158,328

Although not often named among baseball's biggest brands, the Kansas City Royals still had the 15th-largest payroll in 2024. Often overshadowed by the city's football team, the Royals still know how to win, with the team’s second World Series title coming in 2015. Salvador Perez, Michael Wacha, and Seth Lugo lead the team's salary and are looking to maximize the team’s success ahead of free agency in the next few years.

14. Boston Red Sox

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The Boston Red Sox have a dominant history throughout baseball.
  • Total payroll: $99,799,862

Winner of nine World Series titles in franchise history, the Boston Red Sox are one the most storied teams in baseball. The team’s rivalry with the New York Yankees is legendary, as is the team’s stadium in Fenway Park. Led by big names like Rafael Devers, Masatake Yoshida, and Kenley Jansen, the Red Sox hope to make it to the big game again in 2024. If the team continues playing as well as it has been, there’s a good chance the team is in a position to finish in the top half of the American League. 

13. Seattle Mariners

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The Seattle Mariners have their work cut out to justify their big payroll.
  • Total payroll: $110,280,030

One of the expansion teams that joined Major League Baseball in 1977, the Seattle Mariners suffered a lengthy losing streak before finally having a winning record in 1991. Unfortunately, the team has never won a World Series or American League Pennant, but with the 13th highest payroll in baseball, it certainly hopes to do so soon. With Luis Castillo, Mitch Haniger, and Julio Rodriguez leading the Mariner's salary, there is a lot of emphasis on these players to deliver. 

12. San Francisco Giants

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The San Francisco Giants know how to win and top the National League.
  • Total payroll: $114,758,070

A founding National League West Division member, the San Francisco Giants were once the New York Giants. Established in 1883, the team has been based in San Francisco since 1958. The team’s biggest salaries go to players like Michael Conforto, Matt Chapman, and Jorge Soler. At this point in the 2024 season, the team is barely over .500. There is no question the team hopes to improve on the 79-83 record they ended within the 2023 season. 

11. Minnesota Twins

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The Minnesota Twins are often overlooked as a baseball franchise.
  • Total payroll: $114,985,732

The Minnesota Twins, winner of three World Series in franchise history, are one of the best-known teams in baseball. The team has a strong lineup led by All-Star Carlos Correa and names like Bryon Buxton and Christian Vazquez. The Twins are in their 124th season, though the team was initially founded in Washington, D.C., and have been the Twins for 64 years. The Pohlad family, which owns the Twins, undoubtedly wants to add another World Series title. 

10. St. Louis Cardinals

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The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the most-watched teams in baseball.
  • Total payroll: $141,295,651

One of baseball’s most successful professional teams, the St. Louis Cardinals, has won 11 World Series during franchise history, second only to the New York Yankees. At least two of these titles were played against the Cubs, which started one of the biggest rivalries in baseball history. Of course, with names like Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Wilson Contreras, and Miles Mikolas, the Cardinals hope to continue their legacy in 2024. 

9. Philadelphia Phillies

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Philadelphia is a town that is crazy for sports, including the Phillies.
  • Total payroll: $150,252,931

The ninth-biggest payroll in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies are among the best teams in 2024. Last year, the Phillies were National League runner-ups, and they have one of the most consistent lineups in baseball. Behind Aaron Nola, Trea Turner, Zack Wheeler, and Nick Castellanos, it’ll be a big surprise if the Phillies don’t make a deep playoff run in 2024. Undoubtedly, the team, which has only won the World Series twice, would love to add another banner to its stadium. 

8. Houston Astros

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The Houston Astros are the best team in baseball over the last 10 years.
  • Total payroll: $154,683,790

Entering the 2024 season as the defending AL West Champions, the Astros are easily argued as the best team in baseball over the last ten years. Winning the World Series twice since 2017, the team has also won the AL Pennant four times in the same period. Unsurprisingly, this team is strong, with Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Josh Hader leading the payroll. The Astros also have one of the strongest pitching rotations in baseball. 

7. New York Mets

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The New York Mets are hunting for a playoff spot this season.
  • Total payroll: $158,301,773

Led by Francisco Lindor, Pete Alsonso, and Brandon Nimmo, the New York Mets have the 7th highest payroll in Major League Baseball. Entering the 2024 season in its 63rd operating year, the Mets are hopeful they can make it to the postseason this year. What’s most notable is that the Mets, who started the season a little rocky, are looking at five potential players being named to the National League All-Star team. 

6. Los Angeles Dodgers 

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best player in baseball with Shohei Ohtani.
  • Total payroll: $162,260,726

With Shohei Ohtani on the team in 2024, the Los Angeles Dodgers entered the 2024 season with plenty of promise. When you add names like Freddie Freeman, Tyler Glasnow, and Teoscar Hernandez into the lineup, there is every reason to think the Dodgers should make it to the postseason. Things are looking good for the team so far as they look to repeat as the defending National League West Champions. 

5. Texas Rangers

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The Texas Rangers will be looking to repeat last year’s World Series title.
  • Total payroll: $166,843,274

The Texas Rangers, formerly owned by President George W. Bush, are led by Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Nathan Eovaldi. In their 64th season, the team opened the 2024 year as the defending World Series champions, the team’s first. Whether the team will make the playoffs in 2024 remains to be seen, but the team knows how to win after the All-Star break. 

4. Atlanta Braves

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The Atlanta Braves are one of the most decorated National League teams.
  • Total payroll: $175,376,408

The Atlanta Braves are one of the most storied teams in baseball, so it’s no surprise they rank near the top of this list. The most dominant team during the 1990s and the former team of Hank Aaron, the Braves payroll is a sign the team hopes to regain its former glory. The oldest continuously operational team in professional sports in North America, the Braves are the winner of four World Series, including 2021. 

3. Toronto Blue Jays

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The Toronto Blue Jays are the best baseball team in Canada.
  • Total payroll: $179,884,844

With George Springer, Kevin Gausman, and Chris Bassitt on the payroll, the Toronto Blue Jays have the third-highest payroll in baseball. In their 48th season in the MLB, the Blue Jays are currently under .500, which means more losses than wins. After barely scraping into the postseason in 2023 and exiting quickly after two quick losses to the Minnesota Twins, the Blue Jays need to show some spark to justify the payroll. 

2. Chicago Cubs

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The Chicago Cubs are one of the oldest and most beloved baseball teams.
  • Total payroll: $187,763,948

Powered by names like Cody Bellinger, Dansby Swanson, and Ian Happ, the Chicago Cubs have the second-highest payroll in baseball. Unfortunately, the Cubs 2024 season is looking middling so far, with the team currently looking at more losses than wins before the All-Star break. In this regard, the payroll isn’t helping the Cubs make big numbers, and the team missed the playoffs in 2023 for the third consecutive season. 

1. New York Yankees

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The New York Yankees are the best baseball team in history.
  • Total payroll: $226,811,374

It should be no surprise that the New York Yankees are the most expensive team in pro baseball. With Aaron Judge earning $40 million yearly and similar contracts for Gerrit Cole and Juan Soto, the Yankees have the largest payroll in baseball. The Yankees are also the most storied team in baseball and regularly sell out home games, which means revenue is consistent.

 

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