highest paid baseball players

Like the NBA and NFL, Major League Baseball is also a beneficiary of highly lucrative TV deals as a result of the increasing popularity and growing interest in the game. Back in the day, baseball players earned peanuts, but that has changed as the MLB has long been experiencing exponential growth. The highest-paid baseball players today are multimillionaires and the figures keep rising with each passing season.

The highest-paid baseball player in 2014 received $23 million, but just two years later, that figure surged to $33 million. Today, the highest-paid player in baseball, Mike Trout, earns almost $40 million per season from his longterm contract worth just over $400 million. How else do other superstars in the MLB stack up? Based on figures from MLB.com and Sportrac, here are the highest-paid baseball players in Major League Baseball right now.

20. Paul Goldschmidt

highest paid baseball players
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Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Position: First Baseman

Earnings: $26 Million

At the bottom of the top 20 highest paid baseball players in the world list is Paul Goldschmidt, a Delaware-born player who has been in the MLB since 2011. He will earn $26 million in 2020 after signing a five-year contract extension worth $130 million in 2019. The deal is the largest in Cardinals history, beating that of Matt Holliday which was a $120 million contract in 2010.

The $26 million in the first year of Goldschmidt’s new contract comes as a base salary of $22 million and a $4 million signing bonus. The deal is expected to run until 2024.

19. Giancarlo Stanton

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Team: New York Yankees

Position: Outfielder/Designated Hitter

Earnings: $26 Million

Giancarlo Stanton became a professional baseball player in 2010 after the Florida Marlins signed him to a one-year $400,000 contract. He signed a few one-year deals afterward until November 2014 when he signed a massive $325 million 13-year contract.

Stanton earned less than $10 million per year in the first three years of his contract before he joined the highest earners list in 2018 when he earned $25 million. In 2020, that figure rises to $26 million, giving him his best paid year yet in Major League Baseball.

18. Anthony Rendon

highest paid baseball players
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Team: Los Angeles Angels

Position: Third Baseman

Earnings: $26.07 Million

At number 18 of the highest-paid baseball players is Anthony Rendon. The World Series champion will earn $26.07 million from the seven-year, $245 million contract he signed with the Angels in 2019. The deal will give him $25.5 million in base salary and a further $571,428 as a signing bonus.

It has been a rapid rise in Major League Baseball for the Houston-born third baseman. He joined the league via the Nationals in 2013 and has won the Silver Slugger Award twice, along with the NL Comeback Player of the Year award. He further has an All-Star appearance to his name.

17. Mookie Betts

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Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: Right Fielder

Earnings: $27 Million

Mookie Betts comes in at number 17 with just $500,000 shy of Bryce Harper’s impressive 2020 earnings. The former Boston Red Sox right fielder will earn $27 million in base salary, with zero additional bonuses. His earnings are part of his one year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He joined the LA team in February 2020 after his six-year stint with the Red Sox came to an end.

In his relatively short time in the MLB, Betts has won the World Series and has made four All-Star appearances. He also has three Silver Slugger Awards and four Gold Glove Awards to his name.

16. Bryce Harper

highest paid baseball player
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Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Position: Right Fielder

Earnings: $27.5 Million

In the 2018/2019 season, after his contract with the Washington Nationals came to an end, Bryce Harper signed a 13-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. The contract, worth $330 million, was at the time the richest contract in the history of North American sports. While Mike Trout’s $400 million-plus contract has since eclipsed the deal, it is still more than enough to put him squarely among the highest-paid baseball players in 2020.

The Las Vegas-born right fielder will earn $26 million in base salary, and $1.5 million in signing bonus, bringing his total 2020 earnings to $27.5 million.

15. Albert Pujols

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Team: Los Angeles Angels

Position: First Baseman

Earnings: $29 Million

After his decade-long career with the St. Louis Cardinals ended, Albert Pujols who is considered by many as a strong future candidate for the Hall of Fame, inked a 10-year contract valued at $240 million with the Los Angeles Angels. Coming into the tail end of the contract, Pujols will earn $29 million in 2020, one million dollars shy of his 2021 salary from the ten-year deal.

Besides his substantial earnings from the Angels, the athlete also earns approximately $2 million per year in endorsement deals.

14. Jose Altuve

highest paid baseball players
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Team: Houston Astros

Position: Second Baseman

Earnings: $29 Million

The Venezuelan second baseman joined Major League Baseball in 2011 as an undrafted free agent. His first contract as a Houston Astro was worth $483,000, which he extended in 2013 for $12.5 million across four years. In 2018, he signed his biggest deal yet, a five-year contract worth $151 million.

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The deal earns him $26 million in salary every year, with an additional $3 million in signing bonus. Not bad for an undrafted free agent.

13. Yoenis Cespedes

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Team: New York Mets

Position: Outfielder

Earnings: $29.5 Million

Yoenis Cespedes started the 2016 preseason by making headlines for driving a different ride to the Mets Spring training each day. Now we know what La Potencia spends his millions on. In January 2016, he signed a three-year contract extension with the Mets worth $75 million. He could also choose to opt-out after one season.

Cespedes opted out after his first season and resigned with the Mets again for $110 million across four years. In the last year of this contract, he will earn $29.5 million. Considering he has been nursing an injury since the 2018 season, it remains to be seen if his next contract will put him among the highest-paid players in the MLB.

12. Miguel Cabrera

highest paid baseball players
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Team: Detroit Tigers

Position: First Baseman

Earnings: $30 Million

The two-time MVP in 2014 extended his pact with the Tigers in an 8-year, $248 million deal with two option years that brought the entire value of the agreement to $300 million. The deal puts his average yearly earnings at $30 million. As of 2020, thanks to the contract, he has earned more than $146 million since he joined the MLB in 2003.

Cabrera is an 11x All-Star and has won the Silver Slugger Award seven times. He might be in the twilight of his career, but there is still plenty to play for, and millions to earn.

11. Chris Sale

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Team: Boston Red Sox

Position: Pitcher

Earnings: $30 Million

Chris Sale joined the Boston Red Sox in 2017 and helped them to the World Series in 2018. So, in 2019, when his contract was open for negotiation, he secured his place among the highest-paid baseball players in MLB with a five-year $145 million deal. In the first year of the contract, he earned $15 million, a figure that will double in the second year.

His $30 million earnings in 2020 is a significant increase in his salary, having previously maxed at $12.5 million on his former Chicago White Sox contract. The White Sox drafted him in 2010 and signed him to a one-year, $400,000 contract before later giving him a five-year extension in 2013 worth $32.5 million.

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10. Clayton Kershaw

highest paid baseball players
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Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: Starting Pitcher

Earnings: $31 Million

Clayton Kershaw signed a seven-year $215 million deal with the Dodgers in 2014 to extend his stay with the side he has been with since 2008. At the end of that contract in 2019, he resigned with the team for a shorter deal, worth $93 million across three years. He will receive $31 million in 2020.

The Dodgers wanted to make Kershaw a Dodger for life with a $300 million contract, but he opted for the shorter deal and had the team donate the rest to his charity, Hope’s Home, in Africa. An active humanitarian, the pitcher also makes millions endorsing brands like Under Armour, Art of the Game, FantasyDraft, Southern California Acura Dealers, Topps, and Wilson.

9. David Price

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Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: Starting Pitcher

Earnings: $32 Million

David Price joined the Boston Red Sox in 2015 after signing a 7-year contract in December worth $217 million. His annual average income at the time was $31 million, making him the highest-paid baseball player in the league at the time.

Price was later traded to the LA Dodgers in February 2020, with the Dodgers picking up his huge salary. While he is yet to show Dodgers fans what he brings to the table, do not be surprised when his performances earn him a bigger contract and push him high up the earnings list.

8. Manny Machado

highest paid baseball players
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Team: San Diego Padres

Position: Third Baseman/Shortstop

Earnings: $32 Million

The Dominican-American shortstop has barely spent a decade in the league but he is already a fixture in the top ten of the highest-paid baseball players list. That is thanks to his astonishing talent which has earned him four All-Star appearances since his first-round draft pick in 2012.

Machado has played for the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, it is his time at the San Diego Padres that has put him in the apex money list. He signed a ten-year contract worth $300 million with the Padres in 2019. At the time, it was the second $300 million deal in MLB history. His $32 million 2020 earnings include a $2 million signing bonus and a $30 million base salary.

7. Justin Verlander

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Team: Houston Astros

Position: Starting Pitcher

Earnings: $33 Million

Justin Verlander is a man coming to the end of his time as a professional baseball player. He has been in the league since 2005, a time during which he has consistently been one of the highest earners. His salary of $33 million in 2020 is part of a two-year contract he signed with the Houston Astros in 2019.

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The former Detroit Tiger is another player known to spend some of his humongous earnings on luxury cars. He features on our list of athletes with the biggest car collections. Verlander owns more cars than his garage can contain. It is not surprising for a man who has earned more than $230 million in earnings as a professional player.

6. Stephen Strasburg

highest paid baseball players
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Team: Washington Nationals

Position: Pitcher

Earnings: $35 Million

When he made his major league debut in June 2010, Stephen Strasburg produced a franchise-record of 14 strikeouts. So, it comes as no surprise that ten years after he is still with the Nationals and is one of the highest-paid baseball players in the league.

His $35 million 2020 earnings are the beginning of a seven-year contract worth $245 million. Before signing it, he was on a seven-year deal worth $175 million. Add individual accolades like three All-Star appearances, World Series MVP, and a Silver Slugger Award; it is safe to say his professional career is going all too well.

5. Zack Greinke

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Team: Houston Astros

Position: Pitcher

Earnings: $35 Million

Wrapping up the top five highest-paid baseball players is Houston Astros’ Zack Greinke. He is in the fifth year of a six-year contract he signed with the Astros in 2016. Despite being closer to the tail end of 40, he remains one of the best players in the league after joining in 2004 via a first-round draft selection by the Kansas City Royals.

Greinke has never won the World Series, but individually, he has racked up his award resume. He has made six All-Star appearances, won six Gold Glove Awards and three Wilson Defensive Player of the Year awards. And while that ultimate trophy may never come, Zack Greinke will continue to rack in millions in the meantime.

4. Nolan Arenado

highest paid baseball players
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Team: Colorado Rockies

Position: Third Baseman

Earnings: $35 Million

Nolan Arenado is the first of three Major League Baseball players who will take home the same amount ($35 million) in 2020. Still, in the young years of his professional career, the athlete has already made his claim as one of the best talents in history.

Since joining the Rockies in 2013, he has won three platinum Glove Awards, seven Gold Glove Awards, and four Silver Slugger Awards. He has also won the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award thrice. While he may not yet have a World Series to his name, Nolan’s talent is unquestionable.

3. Max Scherzer

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Team: Washington Nationals

Position: Pitcher

Earnings: $35.9 Million

Max Scherzer is coming towards the end of his seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals. Still, he remains one of the highest earners in the league, with up to $35.9 million in 2020 alone. The total contract is worth an estimated $210 million and remains one of the best businesses ever done by the Nationals.

Scherzer has featured on the MLB All-Star team since 2013 and helped the Nationals to World Series victory in 2019. Add three Cy Young Awards, as well as him being a three-time NL strikeout leader and four-time wins leader then it is no surprise to see he is one of the league’s best earners.

2. Gerrit Cole

highest paid baseball players
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Team: New York Yankees

Position: Starting Pitcher

Earnings: $36 Million

When you are one of the best pitchers on the planet, you will find yourself among the highest-paid baseball players in the world. Gerrit Cole is one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball, and the New York Yankees recognizes and appreciates his talent. The iconic MLB franchise signed him to a nine-year $324 million contract, which will see him earn $36 million in 2020.

Cole started his MLB career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013. He spent four years with them before heading to the Houston Astros where he spent the 2018/2019 season. He has been named in the All-Star team three times and was the MLB strikeout leader in 2019.

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1. Mike Trout

highest paid baseball players
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Team: Los Angeles Angels

Position: Center Fielder

Earnings: $37.6 Million

Mike Trout made baseball history in 2019 when he signed a 12-year extension with the Los Angeles Angels worth $426.5 million. It is the first $400 million-plus contract in MLB history. He didn’t take long to repay the faith in him for his mega-deal by winning the American League MVP. He was also named an All-Star for the eighth time and won his seventh Silver Slugger Award.

Mike, a native of Vineland, New Jersey, joined Major League Baseball in 2011 and has set the league alight with his spectacular performances. He is, however, yet to bring the World Series home.

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