6 Highest-Paid MLB Stars in 2014
When Miguel Cabrera signed a 10-year contract extension at the end of March with the Detroit Tigers, it pretty much guaranteed that he would be the highest-paid player in Major League Baseball following 2015 — at least for now. He’ll make around $30 million per year under his new contract, and only Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, whose contract extension similarly has yet to kick in, will be close.
But Cabrera and Kershaw — each dominant year in and year out thus far in their careers — have a few more seasons left on their current contracts. Although they earn in the low $20 millions per season now, they’re currently not atop the MLB’s highest-paid players — in fact, not even in the top 10 for 2014. There’s no doubt they both will be very soon, but until that time comes, other players get to share the title of highest-paid in the league.
Since there is no salary cap in baseball, the market for contracts has been steadily increasing over the past few years —we see this in middling players receiving multimillion dollar deals. ESPN released a list of the highest-paid athletes in the world for their respective sports a week ago that includes salary and endorsements. Alongside that, here are the six best-paid players (this season alone) in the MLB.
1. Zack Greinke, $28 million
To say that Greinke hit the free agency market at an ideal time would be like saying that if you bought Microsoft stock in the ’80s, you did so at an ideal time. Greinke signed a six-year deal that was worth $147 million prior to last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His 2014 salary of $28 million easily puts him atop this list, but he won’t be for long after Kershaw and Cabrera’s new extensions kick in.
The factors that led to Greinke’s contract are unique — again, the market was the main factor behind the high number. First, elite starters were in high demand that offseason; that coincided with a low supply of elite starting pitching. In turn, just like any economy with low supply and high demand, the price rose and Greinke got a record contract. It also didn’t hurt his cause that the Dodgers had a “spend now, ask questions later” mentality and were going to spend as much as it took to get the best.
Now, Greinke’s contract wasn’t unwarranted … well, at least not completely. He won the American League Cy Young award in 2009 with the Kansas City Royals, and has finished four seasons with more than 15 wins in his 11 years as a professional. While his ERA and win-loss record hasn’t always been impeccable, he’s played for teams that neither gave him run support nor a strong defense. Sure, maybe Greinke isn’t worth $28 million when you consider some other elite pitchers and their current salaries, but he entered free agency at the right time while he was pitching his best, and he got rewarded for that.