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The 10 Highest-Paid Players In Major League Baseball This Season

This season, all of these MLB players are receiving significant salaries. Here’s a look at who’s taking home top dollar and which teams are paying them.



Teams are already getting ready for Spring Training even though the MLB season won’t start for another few weeks. And while the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to add challenges to the year, like postponed or canceled games and teams playing at less than full strength, most rosters are set for the start of the year.

Even though the free agency period was shorter this offseason, some significant contracts were nonetheless signed. Trevor Bauer recently signed a nine-figure contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, making him the highest-paid player for the 2021 season. However, Bauer isn’t the only one who will be wealthy this year.

Here are the top 10 paid athletes in the major leagues. While it’s generally a good rule of thumb that these players also have huge deals overall, these earnings only factor in salary for this upcoming season.

$40 million for Trevor Bauer, Los Angeles Dodgers

Trout signed the longest contract in baseball history before the 2019 campaign began: 12 years, $426.5 million. He quickly established his value, earning the right to stay an Angel through the 2030 season. He won the American League MVP Award in 2019 — the same year he signed that extension — and followed it up with a top-five finish last season. In fact, the 29-year-old has never finished outside the top five in MVP voting in any of his nine seasons in the league and has eight All-Star appearances to his name already. He will continue to rule MLB for many years to come.

Mike Trout (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, $36 million

New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom is worth $36 million.

The fact that the top four players on this list are all from teams in California or New York may not come as a surprise. DeGrom is not an exception to the fact that the major markets can be extremely lucrative. DeGrom’s contract is worth a modest $137.5 million over five seasons, which is the same amount Cole will earn this year. He won the NL Cy Young Award in both 2018 and 2019, and led the league in strikeouts last year, fanning 104 batters despite having multiple injuries.

The talented third baseman for the Colorado Rockies signed a hefty eight-year, $260 million contract that began in 2019. The St. Louis Cardinals acquired Arenado in a trade for pitcher Austin Gomber, four minor leaguers, and other players after only a short period of holding onto him. The Rockies will reportedly pay Arenado’s outstanding contract, which includes the entire amount for this season, in addition to covering more than $50 million of it. He has the option to end his contract after this season and in 2022, but the Cardinals will pay him a bargain $15 million salary if he stays during that time. In addition to making five All-Star teams and being in the top eight of the MVP vote five times, Arenado has won a Gold Glove in each of his eight seasons. The Cardinals are counting on him to help return the World Series to St. Louis.

Max Scherzer, $34.5 million, Washington Nationals

Scherzer might be disappointed that Strasburg is making a little bit more money this year than he is. Or perhaps Scherzer is pleased with his three Cy Young Awards, World Series triumph, and $210 million contract at the end of this season. Scherzer is in the final year of his deal, which nearly everyone on this list recently signed. When you consider what the 35-year-old has accomplished during this contract — beyond the three Cy Youngs and World Series championship, Scherzer has an 84-43 record and a 5.8:1 strikeout to walk ratio — this is the biggest bargain on the whole list.

$33 million Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

This deal is an illustration of a significant one gone awry. After one start with the Astros in 2020, the pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery in September. He’ll probably miss the entire year 2021 as he recovers. As a result, he will finish the two-year, $66 million contract he signed in 2019 with a 1-0 record and seven strikeouts. Not always the output the Astros had hoped for. The 38-year-old has nevertheless earned two All-Star selections, a Cy Young award, a World Series ring, and other accolades since moving to Houston in 2017, so the organization is presumably not too concerned about his latest physical troubles.

Houston Astros pitcher Zack Greinke: $32.9 million

Greinke will be a free agency after this season, just like Verlander, but unlike Verlander, Greinke is expected to play the entire time. Greinke was given a six-year, $206.5 million contract by the Arizona Diamondbacks, which began in 2016. Greinke was traded by the D-backs to the Astros in 2019, and while Verlander was recovering, he quickly assumed the ace role. He actually pitched in more innings in the shortened 2020 season (67) than he did in 2019 (62.2), racking up 67 strikeouts to just 9 walks while leading the Astros to Game 7 of the ALCS. He’ll want to maintain his solid performance in his role as the team’s undisputed starting number one.