Average MLB salary falls just short of $3 million

Updated: November 30, 2009, 2:49 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The average baseball salary fell just short of $3 million this year, with the percentage increase slowing to its lowest level since 2004.

The 926 players in the major leagues before rosters expanded in September averaged $2,996,000, according to the annual report of the players' association, which was obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

That is up just 2.4 percent from last year's average of $2.93 million. The increase had not been that small since a 2.5 percent drop in 2004.

The World Series champion Yankees had by far the highest average at $7.66 million, topping the major leagues for the 11th consecutive season.

Six teams among the top eight by average salary made the postseason, joined by Colorado (15th at $2.93 million) and Minnesota (17th at $2.66 million). The Rockies and Twins were both eliminated in the first round.

The Chicago Cubs remained second overall at $4.63 million despite finishing second in the NL Central and missing the playoffs.

Boston moved from sixth to third at $4.58 million. Detroit, which missed the playoffs, went up from seventh to fourth at $4.43 million, followed by St. Louis, ($4.42 million), the Los Angeles Dodgers ($4.33 million), the Los Angeles Angels ($4.22 million), NL champion Philadelphia ($4.06 million) and the New York Mets ($3.76 million), who were deciminated by injuries and plummeted to a 70-92 record, their worst in six years.

Pittsburgh was last at $790,000, the lowest average in the major leagues since 2006. San Diego, at $959,000, was the only other team whose players averaged less than $1 million.

Among regulars at positions, first basemen took over with the highest average at $7.39 million, passing designated hitters ($7.34 million). Third basemen were next at $6.46 million, followed by starting pitchers ($4.66 million), outfielders ($4.58 million), shortstops ($4.44 million), second basemen ($4.32 million), catchers ($4.07 million) and relief pitchers ($1.78 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.

Management's opening-day average was $3.23 million, but the average usually drops during the season as veterans are released and replaced by younger players with lower salaries.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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