Top 5 Highest Paid MLB Players
Who are the five highest paid MLB players this season? In baseball, there are dozens of players on outrageous deals that last the best part of a decade. In fact, looking at the top 20 sports contracts of all time, 13 of them are for baseball and almost all of them are still active to this day. So, who are the MLB players taking home the biggest paydays right now?
Before we get into the list, there are a couple of aspects we need to clear up. Sports contracts are convoluted, meaning that it’s not always as straightforward as looking at who makes the most in a year. Athletes can sign lucrative sponsorship deals and enter various business ventures to increase their capital. Here at Bet Station, we are focusing on the highest paid MLB players. That means we are only looking into each player’s base salary for this season. Every year players sign new big-money deals, so we will keep this list as up-to-date as possible.
Baseball has such a long and rich history, making it pointless to compare the earnings of the best MLB players from 100 years ago. Given how the minimum MLB player salary increases year-on-year, let’s focus on the highest earners right now, avoiding some of the worst MLB players who landed big-money contracts but never delivered.
5. Carlos Correa
Fifth on our list of the highest paid MLB players is Carlos Correa. The shortstop signed a three-year deal with the Minnesota Twins in March 2022. The new contract is worth $105.3 million dollars, which sees his base salary shoot up from $11.7 million per year with the Houston Astros to $35.1 million with the Twins. Correa rejected a deal worth $18.4m from the Astros in November 2021, clearly as he was feeling underpaid.
Looking at Correa’s career so far, he has achieved a lot in his seven seasons with the Twins. He won the World Series in 2017 and is a two-time All-Star. He won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2015, the Gold Glove, and the Platinum Glove Award both in 2021. His achievements have certainly played a big part in landing the new deal as it includes a wide range of incentives. Finishing in the top six for the MVP will see him take home between $50,000 and $250,000. Winning the World Series MVP, Silver Slugger, or Gold Glove will net Correa an extra 100k per achievement. Plus, making an All-Star appearance will give him another 100,000 reasons to smile.
It’s pretty clear that when Minnesota signed Correa, they had high expectations. If Correa can deliver, he will maintain his position as one of the highest paid MLB players. Plus, he could end up in contention for a spot on the list of the best baseball players of all time.
- Position: Shortstop
- Age: 28
- Base Salary: $35,100,000
- Contract Length: 3 years
- Contract Value: $105,300,000
4. Mike Trout
One of the highest paid MLB players this season is Mike Trout. Trout is up there with the best MLB players of all time thanks to his incredible consistency. He has won the Silver Slugger Award eight times in his career and he has made ten All-Star appearances. Trout is also a three-time AL MVP, a two-time Hank Aaron Award winner, and he has made the All-MLB First Team on two occasions. He is also a member of the 30-30 club by hitting 30 home runs and stealing 30 bases in one season.
Trout made history when he signed a 12-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels in March 2019. The deal is worth an enormous $426.5 million, making it the third largest sports contract of all time. However, even though the deal is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Trout does not earn as much per game as the highest paid NFL players. That is partially down to the number of MLB games there are in a season plus the average duration of a baseball contract. Baseball stars like Trout earn around $200,000 per game, but the biggest names in the NFL earn $2.5 million each game.
Anyway, we are not here to compare sports. Instead, Trout has a base salary of $35,450,000, an amount he will earn until 2030. He has currently made around $196 million in his MLB career, a figure which is expected to reach $480 million when his current contract expires. Trout may make less per game than other sports, but Los Angeles Angels contracted him to earn the big bucks for the rest of the 2020s.
- Position: Center fielder
- Age: 31
- Base Salary: $35,450,000
- Contract Length: 12 years
- Contract Value: $426,500,000
3. Gerrit Cole
The New York Yankees pitcher, Gerrit Cole, is one of the highest paid MLB players in the league right now. Cole is joint second on the list of top earners in baseball, but he has earned $7 million less at this point in his career, so he makes third on our list. He began his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013, before moving to the Astros in 2018. In 2020, Cole completed a big-money move to New York.
The Yankees offered Cole a nine-year contract worth $324 million. That means he will enjoy a base salary of $36,000,000 until 2028, unless he signs an extension when his current contract runs out. Cole has made around $120 million throughout his career, $85m in the last three seasons. When the deal runs out in 2028, Cole would have made $336,222,046 from playing in the MLB alone.
Cole is a five-time MBL All-Star and made it to the All-MLB First Team on two occasions. He was a two-time MLB strikeout leader, an AL ERA leader in 2019, and the AL wins leader in 2021. Given the fact he still has six years left on his current deal; Cole might enter his best years as an MLB pitcher.
- Position: Starting pitcher
- Age: 32
- Base Salary: $36,000,000
- Contract Length: 9 years
- Contract Value: $324,000,000
2. Anthony Rendon
Another player on a base salary of $36,000,000 is Anthony Rendon, a third baseman for the Los Angeles Angels. His career began with the Washington Nationals in 2013. From here, Rendon helped the Nationals win the World Series in 2019. His strong 2019 season saw him make an All-Star appearance, get into the All-MLB First Team, and win his second Silver Slugger Award. Rendon was also the MLB RBI Leader in 2019.
In December 2019, he signed a $245 million contract with the Angels. The seven-year deal sees a base salary of $36m this year and $38m until the end of his current deal. He has made $127 million in his career, which could raise up to $279,244,444 when his current contract expires. However, Rendon has not proven to be the prolific player Angels fans were hoping for. Injuries have really held the third baseman back throughout his career.
Rendon has nearly 500 days missed thanks to injury. Since joining the Angels, Rendon has missed over 250 days, including two stretches of around 100 days. He had wrist surgery recently, meaning he will miss the rest of the 2022 season. Plus, they suspended him for five games for a Brawl against Seattle in June 2022. Rendon still has plenty of time left on his contract to prove all the haters wrong. However, given how things are going, it looks unlikely that the Angels will get their money’s worth from this star man.
- Position: Third baseman
- Age: 32
- Base Salary: $36,000,000
- Contract Length: 7 years
- Contract Value: $245,000,000
1. Max Scherzer
The highest paid MLB player this season is Max Scherzer. He holds the record for the highest average annual baseball contract ever, taking home $43,333,333 a season. Out of all the players on our list, Scherzer is one of the most deserving. He currently holds two MLB records. He has the joint most strikeouts in a nine-inning game and the joint most immaculate innings pitched.
Scherzer is an eight-time All-Star who won the World Series in 2019. He has won three Cy Young Awards, was the wins leader on four occasions, and is a three-time NL strikeout leader. The 38-year-old started his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008. He moved to the Tigers in 2010 and then on to the Nationals in 2015. He left the Nationals for one season with the Dodgers before moving to the Mets on a three-year deal worth $130m.
In 2015, Scherzer signed a seven-year deal with the Nationals worth $210 million. If you look at his career earnings, Scherzer has only made $197.9 million to date. That means the Nationals will pay $15m a year to Scherzer until 2027. Whether or not you think he deserves it, Max Scherzer is living the dream. Making the most money in MLB history, all while getting paid by your former employers as well; unbelievable!
- Position: Starting pitcher
- Age: 38
- Base Salary: $43,333,333
- Contract Length: 3 years
- Contract Value: $130,000,000
How much do MLB Players Make?
MLB Players earn anywhere between $43 million a year to $700,000. That’s because the minimum MLB salary from 2022 onwards is 700k. The league has been steadily increasing the minimum salary over the past ten years to ensure they pay all players a fair amount. Given how many players are earning towards the lower end of the salary bracket, the average MLB player’s salary is around $7 million. If you want to know more about each player’s earnings, check out Spotrac.