Largest payrolls in MLB this season
With spending in baseball more or less at an all-time high, we wanted to dive a little deeper into the highest MLB payrolls in 2023.
Some of the largest contracts in league history have been signed in the last year or two, making the MLB luxury tax rules more relevant than ever. This makes it even more important to explore the highest MLB payrolls in 2023 a little closer.
Highest MLB payrolls 2023
In theory, there should be a strong correlation between spending money and winning games. Seeing what teams have spent the most money has helped us grade the biggest winners and losers of the 2023 offseason.
We also expect teams that spend the most to have more players at the top of preseason position rankings. Knowing the key role that money plays in today’s game, let’s take a closer look at the 10 highest MLB payrolls in 2023.
10. Dodgers – $179 million
Shockingly, the Dodgers barely sneak into the top 10 highest payrolls in 2023. Los Angeles wasn’t that active in free agency this winter, even with the team’s own free agents. The Dodgers let go of Trea Turner, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger this past offseason while also declining to spend big on one of the marquee shortstops on the market.
That leaves Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, and Clayton Kershaw as the only Dodgers making at least $20 million this year. That being said, the Dodgers aren’t exactly slumming it, as they have eight players making at least $10 million in 2023 after adding J.D. Martinez and Noah Syndergaard in free agency.
9. Astros – $179.4 million
For a team that’s coming off a world championship, it’s surprising that the Astros aren’t higher on the list of the biggest payrolls in baseball. It’s even more surprising that Alex Bregman is now Houston’s highest-paid player, topping Jose Altuve and new signing Jose Abreu.
Also, with Justin Verlander leaving the team, three of Houston’s highest-paid pitchers are actually relievers. In fact, bullpen arms Ryan Pressly, Rafael Montero, and Hector Neris will make a combined $33.5 million this year, giving the Astros one of the most expensive bullpens in the majors.
8. Rangers – $180 million
Even if they’re still in rebuilding mode, the Rangers have dished out some huge contacts over the last two offseasons, causing their payroll to skyrocket into the top 10.
Two years ago it was Corey Seager and Marcus Semien while the Rangers threw tons of money at Jacob deGrom this past winter. Those three players will combine to make just over half of the entire Texas payroll this year. The likes of Martin Perez and Nathan Eovaldi also have lucrative deals with the Rangers, pushing the team’s payroll even higher.
7. Braves – $180.4 million
For a team that’s won five straight division titles, Atlanta’s payroll is surprisingly low. That’s because the Braves have a lot of young players who aren’t yet making huge salaries.
The Braves have also done a good job of locking up some of their top players to team-friendly contracts.
Right now, Matt Olson and Charlie Morton are the only players making at least $20 million in 2023. In fact, there are only six players on Atlanta’s roster making $15 million or more this year.
6. Blue Jays – $202.4 million
In a way, it’s good to see MLB’s only Canadian team spending money freely. The Blue Jays have made a lot of progress in recent years with their young core and are now spending money on veterans who they hope can help supplement their young talent.
With George Springer, Kevin Gausman, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, Toronto has three players who will make at least $20 million this year. They also handed out a big contract to Chris Bassitt this offseason. Of course, the club’s best young players are moving deeper into arbitration, which means the salary of players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are going to keep getting bigger in the years to come.
5. Angels – $202.8 million
If only the Angels could turn all of the money they’re spending into wins. With Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and (don’t forget about) Anthony Rendon, the Halos have three players who are making at least $30 million this year.
For what it’s worth, the fourth-highest salary on the team is Tyler Anderson’s $13 million. But the trio of Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon is making over $105 million, making up more than half of the team’s payroll. That could be the problem for the Angels, as it typically takes more than three players to get to the playoffs.
4. Padres – $204.6 million
Among West Coast teams, the Padres lead the payroll game. Not long ago, they were a small-market club trying to get by on a tight budget.
But now the Padres are among the biggest spenders in the majors. They signed Xander Bogaerts to a big deal this offseason while also giving Yu Darvish and Manny Machado nine-figure extensions to stick around. They are also giving Joe Musgrove $20 million in 2023 and Juan Soto $23 million before he hits the open market next winter. In other words, don’t be surprised if San Diego’s payroll is even higher next year.
3. Phillies – $223.4 million
After giving Trea Turner an 11-year, $300 million contract, the Phillies are set to have one of the highest MLB payrolls in 2023.
Typically, Philadelphia isn’t afraid to spend money, but on the heels of a World Series loss, the Phillies have stepped it up a notch, putting them well ahead of the pack in spending. In addition to Turner, Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, and J.T. Realmuto are also making healthy salaries in 2023. In fact, Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber make it six players on the Phillies making at least $20 million this year.
2. Yankees – $268 million
We’re not sure if the Yankees should be relieved or embarrassed that they’ve been surpassed as the highest payroll in baseball, especially since it’s their New York brethren who have eclipsed them.
In any event, $268 million isn’t exactly chump change. Keep in mind the Yankees had to hand Aaron Judge a huge contract to keep him around. There are also the contracts for Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton, who are both set to make over $30 million this year.
New signing Carlos Rodon is also one of five players the Yankees will pay more than $20 million this season, putting them well ahead of 28 other teams with regard to payroll.
1. Mets – $304.9 million
Not surprisingly, the Mets have the highest MLB payroll currently. Frankly, they have so many high-priced players under long-term contracts right now that it might be a while until someone eclipses them at the top of this particular list.
When Steve Cohen bought the team, he promised the fanbase that he wouldn’t be afraid to spend, and he has more than delivered on that promise. The Mets perhaps exceeded expectations when it came to spending this past offseason. They gave Justin Verlander a huge deal on top of the money already going to Max Scherzer.
They also handed out nine-figure deals over the winter to Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo to keep them in New York. Of course, with over $300 million on the payroll, nothing short of a World Series title will be good enough for the Mets in 2023. On the other hand, Cohen is likely to keep spending until that happens.
Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.