Average MLB salary falls just short of $3 million
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
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index