The Dodgers are now the owners of the highest payroll in baseball according to a report filed Tuesday night by the Associated Press. Los Angeles’ 2014 payroll is projected at a cool $235 million. The AP estimates the Yankees at just $204 million – the first time New York hasn’t led the majors in payroll since 1998, a span of 15 years.
Don’t expect the Dodgers to relinquish the title any time either, thanks in part to new ownership and their massive, billion-dollar cable deal. Also consider: this year the Dodgers are only paying reigning National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw $4 million — that figure skyrockets to $30 million in 2015 thanks to the huge extension he signed in the winter.
The top-heavy Dodgers payroll is staggering. Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke and Carl Crawford each collect more than $20 million this season. At roughly $26 million, Greinke is now the game highest-paid player. Hanley Ramirez, Josh Beckett and Andre Either each make over $15 million. Even Chad Billingsley is on the books in Chavez Ravine for $12 million.
Although the Yankees spent almost half a billion in free agent contracts this winner on Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury, they’re only on the hook for $3.8 of Alex Rodriguez’s $25 million salary due to his season-long suspension. It could be interesting to watch if the Yankees and Dodgers get into a bidding war for shortstop Ramirez, who would be a big-money replacement for Derek Jeter.
Philadelphia checked in with the third-highest payroll at $180 million. Given that the Phillies are in the midst of a disastrous spring and have one of the oldest rosters in baseball, it probably won’t go down as money well spent.
If you’re curious — surprise — the lowly Astros own the lowest payroll in baseball at $45 million. It’s actually a significant improvement for Houston, which began the 2013 season with only $27 million in salary on the books. The additions of veteran like Scott Feldman, Jesse Crain, Dexter Fowler and Chad Qualls helped push the Astros number higher.