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2015 mlb team payrolls  - view from bleachers looking out to baseball field

2015 MLB Team Payrolls

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It pays to be a Major League Baseball Player. According to a study conducted by The Associated Press, the average MLB player will earn approximately $4.25 million in 2015.

Note: We've updated the 2016 MLB team payrolls here.

This data is impressive for many reasons:

  • It is the first time the average MLB salary has exceeded $4 million.
  • The average 2014 salary was $3.95 million.
  • The average 2013 salary was $3.65 million.

Let's put it this way: MLB players aren't hurting for money, especially with the average salary increasing at a fast rate, year over year.

Not every player earns the league average of $4.25 million. There are some well below this number. At the same time, there are many who put it to shame. Clayton Kershaw, for example, will earn $31 million this year. This makes the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher the highest paid player in the league.

What is the reason for the increase? Dan Halem, MLB's chief legal officer, noted the following in the AP article:

"'MLB's revenues have grown in recent years, with the increase in national and local broadcast rights fees being a primary contributor... It is expected that player compensation will increase as club revenues increase."

Speaking of club revenue, MLB teams aren't hurting in this department. Forbes recently published its list of MLB team values for the 2015 season. The New York Yankees are sitting at the top, with an estimated value of $3.2 billion and revenue of $508 million. The Tampa Bay Rays are dead last, but that doesn't mean its numbers are less impressive. For a small market team, its estimated value of $625 million, with revenue of $188 million, will turn some heads.

The average MLB player salary for the 2015 season is $4.25 million. The average value of an MLB team is $1.2 billion. Those numbers alone prove that Major League Baseball is in a very good place.

There are MLB teams that spend their money wisely. There are also teams that blow through tens of millions of dollars on the highest paid players, never seeing much of a return.

The MLB teams that spend the most money don't always win the most games.

MLB Playoff Payrolls

With the 2015 MLB regular season in the past, it is time for the real fun to begin. Just the same as every year, there are a few teams that managed to perform at a high level, despite a small payroll.

Let's take a look at the five playoff teams (ordered by seed) in both leagues, along with their 2015 payroll:

American League

  • Kansas City Royals - $112,890,000
  • Toronto Blue Jays - $121,125,000
  • Texas Rangers - $135,750,000
  • New York Yankees - $211,747,857
  • Houston Astros - $63,300,000

National League

  • St. Louis Cardinals - $115,350,000
  • Los Angeles Dodgers - $273,440,830
  • New York Mets - $94,761,105
  • Pittsburgh Pirates - $84,312,499
  • Chicago Cubs - $114,629,523

As you can see, some teams did more with their money than others. Here are some of the most important takeaways:

  • The Dodgers have the highest payroll of any playoff team, and it paid off for them in 2015.
  • Despite the second highest payroll, the Yankees will have to win the AL wild card game to move on.
  • The Astros have the second lowest payroll of all 30 teams, but still managed to make their way into the playoffs.
  • The Pirates ended the season with the second best record in the NL, despite the 24th highest payroll.

As the 2015 MLB playoffs move forward, be sure to review the payroll numbers for each team. You may be surprised to find that the team that spends the most money doesn't always win the game.

Over the past couple of seasons, teams such as the Pittsburgh Pirates have been making the most of their payroll. On the flipside, teams such as the New York Yankees have spent an exorbitant amount of money, just to sit at home when the playoffs begin. And a team like the Chicago Cubs is just now beginning to spend big bucks on payroll after building their farm system.

Below is the estimated total 2015 payroll for every MLB team (courtesy of Spotrac):

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers: $273,440,830
  2. New York Yankees: $211,747,857
  3. Boston Red Sox: $178,513,094
  4. San Francisco Giants: $169,452,777
  5. Detroit Tigers: $166,675,000
  6. Los Angeles Angels: $159,687,833
  7. Washington Nationals: $158,514,285
  8. Philadelphia Phillies: $136,366,666
  9. Texas Rangers: $135,750,000
  10. Toronto Blue Jays: $121,125,000
  11. Seattle Mariners: $119,237,142
  12. Baltimore Orioles: $118,543,333
  13. St. Louis Cardinals: $115,350,000
  14. Cincinnati Reds: $114,869,587
  15. Chicago Cubs: $114,629,523
  16. Kansas City Royals: $112,890,000
  17. Chicago White Sox: $110,060,477
  18. Minnesota Twins: $100,975,000
  19. Colorado Rockies: $99,516,171
  20. Milwaukee Brewers: $98,037,500
  21. New York Mets: $94,761,105
  22. San Diego Padres: $93,643,333
  23. Atlanta Braves: $92,568,898
  24. Pittsburgh Pirates: $84,312,499
  25. Arizona Diamondbacks: $83,458,333
  26. Cleveland Indians: $81,811,999
  27. Oakland Athletics: $77,234,166
  28. Tampa Bay Rays: $67,908,332
  29. Houston Astros: $63,300,000
  30. Miami Marlins: $60,375,000

So, there you have it. These are the 2015 payroll numbers for every team in the MLB.