The Dodgers set an MLB record by having a $270 million opening day payroll.
MLB player salaries also reached a new high, with the average major leaguer making $4.2 million, up 15 percent over the past two seasons. By comparison NBA players make an average of $5 million, NHL players make an average of $2.58 million and NFL players made an average of $2.016 million for the 2014 season.
The Dodgers’ record-setting payroll includes the team paying $43.8 million this season to players who aren’t even on their roster.
They will pay $18 million of Matt Kemp's $21 million salary after he was traded to the San Diego Padres, while $12.5 million is going to the Miami Marlins to cover salaries for pitcher Dan Haren and second baseman Dee Gordon. A total of $13 million will be paid to released pitchers Brian Wilson, Dustin McGowan and Chad Billingsley.
"It's a different world,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said to USA Today. "But I don't ever really think about payroll numbers other than using them in the abstract to shape a roster. I don't think about it as real dollars' worth in the roster construction process. It is what it is, and we operate within the parameters that we're given.”
The New York Yankees are second on the MLB payroll list at $219 million, followed by the Boston Red Sox ($175 million), San Francisco Giants ($173.2 million) and Detroit Tigers ($172.8 million). The Houston Astros and ($69.1 million) and Marlins ($69.2 million) have baseball’s lowest payroll.
A record 508 players will make $1 million or more this season, led by Dodgers pitcher and National League MVP and Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, who will take home $31 million. Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is set to make $28 million, Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke will be paid $27 million and injured Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton will make $25.4 million.
- Scooby Axson