NEW YORK (AP) — The average salary in Major League Baseball finished over $3 million for the first time.
The 912 players in the big leagues before rosters expanded in September averaged $3,014,572, the Major League Baseball Players Association said Monday. The average rose 0.6 percent from last year’s $2,996,106, the smallest increase since a 2.5 percent drop in 2004.
The union’s opening-day average first reached $3 million in 2007, but the average drops during the season as veterans are released and replaced by younger players earning far less. The union’s average at the start of this season was $3,340,133.
The New York Yankees had the highest final average at $7,604,937, down slightly from $7,663,351 when they won the World Series in 2009. Philadelphia rose from eighth to second at $5,662,551.
Boston ($4,821,016) remained third, and the Chicago White Sox ($4,580,868) climbed from 12th to fourth followed by the Chicago Cubs ($4,107,304), who dropped from second. Houston ($1,931,793) slid from 11th to 22nd.
Pittsburgh was last for the second straight season at $1,140,598. Cleveland ($1,205,210) dropped from 23rd to 29th.
Only three of the top seven teams by average salary made the postseason, with the Yankees and Phillies joined by the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, who were seventh at $4,042,950. The AL champion Texas Rangers were 14th at $2,778,920.
Also making the playoffs were No. 10 Atlanta, No. 11 Minnesota, No. 16 Tampa Bay and No. 19 Cincinnati, which commissioner Bud Selig has pointed to as a sign that revenue sharing is working for the middle- and low-revenue teams.
Among regulars at positions, first basemen again had the highest average at $9.5 million, with third basemen ($8.47 million) passing designated hitters ($7.43 million) for second. Second basemen ($4.9 million) were next, trailed by catchers ($4.79 million), outfielders ($4.66 million), shortstops ($4.59 million), starting pitchers ($4.58 million) and relief pitchers ($2.11 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.