Today is Major League Baseball’s opening day, which means the 2023 season is about to be in… full swing. If you took a time machine back to opening day for the 1973 season, the league’s highest-paid player would have been Dick Allen. His total annual salary for that season? $200,000. Even after adjusting for inflation, that’s “only” $1.355 million. A decade later in 1983, Mike Schmidt was the highest paid player in the league. Schmidt’s annual salary 30 years ago? $1.6 million. After adjusting for inflation that’s the same as $4.8 million.
Jumping ahead another decade, on opening day 1993, Bobby Bonilla’s contract made him the highest paid baseball player with a $6.3 million annual salary. Earning $6.3 million in 1993 is the same as making $13 million today. So we’re starting to get to some impressive numbers, but era of the absolutely enormous contracts wouldn’t start for another decade or so. For example, Alex Rodriguez was the highest paid player in the league in 2003 AND 2013, with earnings of $22 million and $29 million, respectively.
But even A-Rod’s enormous contracts pale in comparison to what today’s big leagures are making. Remember Dick Allen’s $200,000 annual salary in 1973? In 2023, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander will both make more than that… EVERY SINGLE GAME.
In 2023, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander will both make $43.3 MILLION in base salary. That’s enough to make them tied for the highest paid players in the league this season. Perhaps craziest of all, both Max and Justin will make those salaries from the Mets. So the Mets will be shelling out $87 million this season on TWO people. For perspective The Oakland A’s entire payroll for the 2023 season is a bit under $34 million.
The 10 Highest Paid Baseball Players 2023
- 1. Max Scherzer – Mets, SP, Age: 38, Salary: $43,333,333
- tie. Justin Verlander – Mets, SP, Age: 40, Salary: $43,333,333
- 3. Aaron Judge – Yankees, RF, Age: 31, Salary: $40,000,000
- 4. Anthony Rendon – Angels, 3B, Age: 33, Salary: $38,571,428
- 5. Mike Trout – Angels, CF, Age: 31, Salary: $37,116,666
- 6. Gerrit Cole – Yankees, SP, Age: 32, Salary: $36,000,000
- 7. Corey Seager – Rangers, SS, Age: 29, Salary: $35,500,000
- 8. Stephen Strasburg – Nationals, SP, Age: 34, Salary: $35,000,000
- 9. Nolan Arenado – Cardinals, 3B, Age: 32, Salary: $35,000,000
- 10. Francisco Lindor – Mets, SS, Age: 29, Salary: $34,100,000