DALLAS (AP) — The average major league salary increased 2.7 percent this year to nearly $3.1 million, the largest rise since 2008.
The 913 players on Aug. 31 rosters and disabled lists averaged $3,095,183, the Major League Baseball Players Association said Monday in its annual report, up from $3,014,572 last year when the average topped $3 million for the first time.
The average figures to go up next year, with the minimum salary rising from $414,000 to $480,000 under the new labor contract.
The New York Yankees had the highest average salary for the 13th consecutive season, but at $6.54 million it declined for the second straight year, down from a peak of $7.66 million when they won the World Series in 2009.
Philadelphia was second at $6.44 million, followed by Boston ($5.21 million), the Los Angeles Angels ($4.58 million) and the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals ($4.47 million). AL champion Texas was 15th at $3.01 million.
Among other playoff teams, Detroit was ninth at $3.96 million, Milwaukee 11th at $3.41 million, Arizona 22nd at $2.12 million and Tampa Bay 28th at $1.54 million. Commissioner Bud Selig has pointed out several times that changes to baseball’s labor contract in recent years have increased competitive balance.
Kansas City was last at $1.34 million, just behind San Diego at $1.35 million. Pittsburgh, which was last in 2010, rose to 27th at $1.73 million.
Among regulars at positions, designated hitters took over as the highest average at $9.3 million, followed by first basemen at $8.9 million. With the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez spending time on the disabled list and failing to play 100 games at third base, that position’s average dropped from $6.5 million to $5.2 million.
Outfielders were at $5.6 million, second basemen $5.2 million, starting pitchers $4.9 million, shortstops $3.9 million, catchers $2.6 million and relief pitchers $1.9 million.
The commissioner’s office will not determine its final figures for a few weeks. Management’s numbers usually differ slightly because of different methods of calculation.