The 11 Highest-Paid Baseball Players in 2024 (And All-Time)

Make no mistake, America's pastime is incredibly lucrative.

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We are slowly creeping our way to the start of baseball season which means huge new contracts are being signed, sealed, and delivered!

Now in a world where we see NBA and NFL players securing absolutely massive contracts, we tend to forget that MLB players are ‘silent killers’ as well. Professional baseball players have proven over time that they can land some of the biggest contracts in sports history. History was made this off-season with the biggest ever contract being signed between the highly desirable Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Related: The 30 Best Baseball Nicknames Ever

While the NBA and NFL have salary caps limit how much a player can be paid, MLB contracts have no formal restrictions. Theoretically, players can make as much money as their teams are willing to pay them, although teams in recent years have become more austere and reluctant to pay the luxury tax. To wit, baseball players can remain productive deep into their 30s; Baseball players aren’t getting banged and bruised up as much as their counterparts, making the injury rates relatively low. As such, an MLB career can last up to twenty years, especially for sluggers who can now take advantage of the newly-installed universal DH rule.

Nerdy sports facts aside, baseball players can land some monumental deals. Here is a list of the highest-paid baseball players who are active today, as well as the highest-paid baseball players in the history of the league.

Let’s start with the present. 

1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Dodgers

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  • Contract: $700,000,000/10 Years
  • Years: 2024-2033
  • AAV: $70,000,000

The baseball world was on its toes all off-season waiting to hear where Shohei Ohtani was going to sign. And while everyone knew it would be a big contract, I don't think anyone was expecting an number as earth shattering as $700 million dollars.

Shohei has the rare ability to both be an ace pitcher and clutch hitter, which is the reason why a team like the Dodgers can justify spending this much money on the unicorn player. With several new big contracts on board, the Dodgers are hopeful that this will be the beginning of a dynasty.

2. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

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  • Contract: $426 Million/12 Years
  • Years: 2018-2030
  • AAV: $35.41 Million

Trout is arguably the best player in baseball. In fact, he might just be one of the best players of the last half-century. Able to do just about everything an outfielder could possibly hope to ever do, Trout is basically the perfect player.

He hits for average (.310 batting average), unfailingly gets on base (.426 on-base percentage, second best in MLB), plays excellent defense and hits nukes. Already a three-time MVP, Trout is sure to reach a fourth MVP award in any coming season. If anything, the $426 million deal he signed in 2019 is probably a bargain. 

3. Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers

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  • Contract: $365,000,000/12 years
  • Years: 2021-2032
  • AAV: $30.4 million

Boston fans' hearts were shattered when the Red Sox sent Mookie Betts to LA in 2020. To add to the heartbreak, Betts signed his massive extension contract following the 2020 season, which meant that he was going to be locked into his new home for quite a while.

With the addition of even more superstars to the Dodgers in the 2023 off-season, Betts and the Dodgers are stacked up pretty well for the 2024 season and beyond.

4. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

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  • Contract: $360,000,000/9Years
  • Years: 2023-2031
  • AAV: $40,000,000

When Aaron Judge became a free-agent in 2022, Yankees fans lost a lot of sleep waiting to hear if he would stay with New York, or explore his options elsewhere. There was a collective sigh of relief in the Bronx when the New York superstar and face of the franchise signed his nine-year contract with the Yankees. In addition to his massive contract, Judge was also named the captain, making him the first to hold the position since Derek Jeter.

5. Manny Machado, San Diego Padres

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  • Contract: $300 Million/10 Years
  • Years: 2023-2033
  • AAV: $30,000,000

The San Diego Padres are in it for the long haul with Manny Machado and made it official in 2019 when they offered him a 10-year, $300 million contract, which made him not just one of the highest-paid baseball players, but one of the richest athletes in the history of American sports. The four-time All-Star’s contract was eclipsed two weeks later by Bryce Harper’s $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, but the heavy hitter remains top ten in earnings. Machado finished third last season in the National League with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs. While the Padres infamously flamed out last season, Machado is scorching to start this year, carrying the Dads while Fernando Tatis Jr. is out.

6. Francisco Lindor, New York Mets

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  • Contract: $341 Million/10 Years
  • Years: 2022-2030
  • AAV: $33.1 Million

The face of the Mets’ rapid retool, Lindor signed a 10 year, $331 million contract with the Amazin's in 2021 after he was traded by the Cleveland Guardians. While Lindor hasn’t been able to match the success he had in Cleveland as arguably the best shortstop in MLB, he’s been the emotional engine of a Mets team that still has a few more holes to fill before they can be considered serious contenders again. 

7. Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres

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  • Contract: $340,000,000/14 Years
  • Years: 2021-2034
  • AAV: 24.2 million

Following an electric season in 2021, the San Diego Padres wasted little time to sign Tatis Jr. to stick with them for another 14 years. The Padres contract with Tatis Jr. is designed in a way that the amount of money he earns in a season will increase overtime, which is a strategy that allows them to have more money to spend on other big players in order to build around studs like Tatis Jr.

8. Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies

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  • Contract: $330,000,000/13 Years
  • Years: 2019-2031
  • AAV: $25.3 million

It's crazy to think that when Bryce Harper signed his $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019, it was the biggest contract in the MLB at the time, and now, its only eighth on the list. Still, Harper brings home a large paycheck, which is well-deserved given the success he has had with the team, most recently with a 2023 playoff push that was stopped short in the NLCS.

T-9. Corey Seager, Texas Rangers

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  • Contract: $325 Million/10 Years
  • Years: (2022-2031)
  • AAV: $32.5 Million

The 2020 and 2023 World Series MVP joined the Texas Rangers over the winter after spending the first seven years of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. By signing a 10 year, $325 million deal, Seager secured the most total money of any player last offseason. After a rocky first few weeks in Arlington, Seager has regained his sea legs and is once again among the biggest-hitting middle-infielder in MLB.

T-9. Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees

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  • Contract: $325,000,000/13 years
  • Years: 2015-2027
  • AAV: $25 million

Giancarlo Stanton is no stranger to the MLB, as he's been in the league since 2010. After a couple of dominating years at the plate with the Miami Marlins, the Yankees acquired Stanton and subsequently agreed on a record-braking contract (for the time) that would keep him in New York at least through 2027.

T-9. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Los Angeles Dodgers

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  • Contract: $325,000,000/12 Years
  • Years: 2024-2035
  • AAV: $27 million

While Ohtani's contract with the Dodgers may have been the biggest story in the 2023 off-season, the entire baseball world also had their eye on Yamamoto. The 25-year-old pitcher made a name for himself playing in Japan, and once American scouts caught wind, the race was on to see what team could sign him first. The Dodgers won the race, scooping him up with a huge contract that they are hopeful will pay off quickly.

Who Are the Highest-Earning Baseball Players of All-Time?

1. Alex Rodriguez

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Total Seasons: 22

Total Earnings: $450 Million

A-Rod earned an estimated $450 million during the course of his 22-year career. Rodriguez’s two highest-earning seasons came during the 2009 and 2010 seasons which coincided with the Yankees 2009 World Series championship. The fourteen-time All-Star also received a slew of endorsements deals which included partnerships with Nike, Giorgio Armani, and Radio Shack bringing him an additional $35 million on top of his MLB salary. Rodriguez retired from baseball in 2016, and currently works as an analyst for ESPN and Fox Sports. By 2023, Rodriguez will also become one of the principal owners of the Minnesota Timberwolves, buying 20% of the team at a valuation of $1.5 billion.

2. Albert Pujols

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Total Seasons: 20

Total Earnings: $309.2 Million

In a nineteen-year career that featured ten all-star appearances, two World Series championships and plenty more, Pujols spent the first half of his career in St. Louis with the Cardinals where he experienced the majority of his professional success, and has since spent the second half of his career with the Los Angeles Angels. Pujols has collected $309 million to date, and this season will mark his highest single-season salary with a base rate of $30 million. The 2021 campaign also marks the final year of Pujols’ contract with the Angels, so we’ll have to see what move he makes next.

3. Miguel Cabrera

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Total Seasons: 19

Total Earnings: $291 Million

Another veteran still going strong, Cabrera is currently on a ten-year contract with the Detroit Tigers as part of an eight-year contract extension signed back in 2014. Back in 2014, Cabrera's deal was largest in baseball history—in fact, the deal was so groundbreaking that he's still one of the highest-paid baseball players of all time nearly a decade later. The eleven-time All-Star will earn a base salary of $30 million this year, and $32 million during the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

4. Derek Jeter

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Total Seasons: 20

Total Earnings: $266 Million

One of the greatest and highest-paid baseball players the world has ever seen, Derek Jeter grossed $266 million during his two decade career. Similar to his Yankees teammate A-Rod, Jeter’s highest earning season came during the 2010 campaign, where the fourteen-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion earned the coveted AL Hank Aaron Award. Jeter also had brand partnerships with Nike and Gatorade which brought him an estimated $10 million on top of his annual baseball salary. Jeter spent his entire career with the Yankees retiring in 2014.

5. CC Sabathia

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Total Seasons: 19

Total Earnings: $264.8 Million

Since we’re on the subject of top-earning Yankees, CC Sabathia banked $264 million in his nineteen-year career, which also included tenures with the Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers. Sabathia signed a seven-year $161 million deal with the Yankees, which at the time was the biggest contract ever for a starting pitcher. The LHP earned $25 million during the 2017 season, making it his highest single-season salary. In addition to being one of the highest-paid baseball players, Sabathia retired a world champion and six-time All-Star in 2019.

6. Carlos Beltrán

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Total Seasons: 20

Total Earnings: $248.9 Million

While Beltrán has experienced some controversy recently, that doesn’t take away from his professional accomplishments as a player. Beltrán collected $248.9 million in a career that spanned 20 years, playing for eight different teams during the course of his 20 seasons. Beltran earned $18.5 million during his 2009 and 2010 seasons with the New York Mets, making those the highest-earning of his career. The outfielder made nine All-Star appearances and retired in 2017 after winning a title with the Houston Astros.

7. Justin Verlander

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Total Seasons: 16

Total Earnings: $241 Million

Earlier in this article we mentioned how future all-time lists will have to eventually be revamped to include the current top-earners due to their massive contracts. Since we have already covered Verlander, we won’t go over all of his earnings again. However, as a reminder, Verlander has made over $241 million in his career, and will make $33 million this upcoming season despite being on the injured list thanks to the MLB’s guaranteed contracts. Verlander currently sits at number seven on the all-time list.

8. Manny Ramirez

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Total Seasons: 19

Total Earnings: 232.1 Million

One of the most beloved players in the history of Major League Baseball, Manny Ramirez brought in $232 Million in a career that included twelve All-Star appearances, and two championships with the Boston Red Sox, where Ramirez experienced his highest yearly salaries. The should-be Hall of Famer retired from the MLB in 2011, and coached in the Australian Baseball League for a brief period in 2020.

9. Zack Greinke, Houston Astros

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Total Seasons: 17

Total Earnings: $227 Million

Similar to Verlander, Greinke is another active pitcher who will go down as one of this era's best pitchers as well as one of the highest-paid baseball players of all-time. After his $206 million contract expired last offseason, Greinke has returned to Kansas City on a significantly cheaper deal.

10. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Total Seasons: 14

Total Earnings: $228 Million

Riding high on the Dodgers World Series victory against the Tampa Bay Rays, the eight-time All-Star will enjoy a $23 million salary as a part of the $93 million contract extension he signed with the Dodgers back in 2018. Kershaw has earned $228 million to date, making him one of the highest paid players in the league. With this season being the last in Kershaw’s deal, things are sure to get interesting in Los Angeles. Whether Kershaw remains in the City of Angels or not, he’ll be sure to command a hefty payday.

So as you can see, MLB players are among some of the highest-paid figures in sports. With more stars on the rise, we expect to see more groundbreaking contracts in the future.

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