The 25 highest-paid players in Major League Baseball

Clayton KershawScott Rovak/USA Today SportsClayton Kershaw is the highest-paid player in Major League Baseball.

Salaries continue to soar in Major League Baseball as 25 players will make at least $US20 million this season, up from 21 players in 2014.

This year’s group of highest-paid players includes nine starting pitchers, seven first basemen, two shortstops, two right fielders, and a second baseman, third baseman, left fielder, center fielder, and designated hitter.

The New York Yankees lead the way with five players on the list, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers (4) and the Philadelphia Phillies (3).

Salaries and contract information via spotrac.com and BaseballProspectus.com.

1. Clayton Kershaw -- $30 million

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: Starting pitcher

2014 WAR: 7.6 wins

Contract: 7 years, $US215 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: Kershaw's contract is the richest deal for a pitcher in baseball history and his average annual salary of $US30.7 million is the largest for any player. This year he will make about $US909,000 for each start.

2. Justin Verlander -- $28 million

Team: Detroit Tigers

Position: Starting pitcher

2014 WAR: 2.8 wins

Contract: 7 years, $US180 million (through 2019)

One thing to know: Verlander is in just the third year of his contract but has yet to pitch in 2015 as he has been sidelined with a strained triceps muscle and is not expected back before June.

3. (tie) Ryan Howard -- $25 million

Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Position: First baseman

2014 WAR: -0.3 wins

Contract: 5 years, $US125 million (through 2016)

One thing to know: Howard's contract has become a nightmare for the Phillies as they still owe him nearly $US60 million and he is a shell of his former self.

3. (tie) Cliff Lee -- $25 million

Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Position: Starting pitcher

2014 WAR: 1.9 wins

Contract: 5 years, $US120 million (through 2015)

One thing to know: Cliff Lee's contract is nearly as bad as Ryan Howard's. While Lee is in the final year of his deal, he injured his arm and any hopes of the Phillies trading him for prospects has been eliminated.

5. (tie) Albert Pujols -- $24 million

Team: Los Angeles Angels

Position: First baseman

2014 WAR: 2.9 wins

Contract: 10 years, $US240 million (through 2021)

One thing to know: Albert Pujols is 35 and still has 6 years and $US165 million left on his contract after this year. He will have made $US354 million in his career by the end of this contract.

5. (tie) Felix Hernandez -- $24 million

Team: Seattle Mariners

Position: Starting pitcher

2014 WAR: 6.1 wins

Contract: 7 years, $US175 million (through 2019)

One thing to know: The Mariners have a Tommy John surgery clause built into Hernandez' contract. If he misses more than 130 consecutive days of a baseball season(s) due to elbow surgery (e.g. Tommy John elbow ligament surgery) during the life of the contract, the Mariners get to keep Hernandez for the 2020 season with a salary of just $US1 million.

5. (tie) Prince Fielder -- $24 million

Team: Texas Rangers

Position: First baseman

2014 WAR: -0.3 wins

Contract: 9 years, $US214 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: Of the $US120 million left on Fielder's contract after this season, the Detroit Tigers will pay $US30 million.

5. (tie) Robinson Cano -- $24 million

Team: Seattle Mariners

Position: Second baseman

2014 WAR: 5.1 wins

Contract: 10 years, $US240 million (through 2023)

One thing to know: The Mariners had a huge influx of television revenue which allowed them to go out and shock the world by giving Cano a $US240 million contract.

9. (tie) C.C. Sabathia -- $23 million

Team: New York Yankees

Position: Starting pitcher

2014 WAR: 0.1 wins

Contract: 5 years, $US122 million (through 2016)

One thing to know: After losing a ton of weight and becoming nearly unrecognizable, Sabathia intentionally put the weight back on prior to this season hoping to rediscover his old dominance.

9. (tie) Joe Mauer -- $23 million

Team: Minnesota Twins

Position: First baseman

2014 WAR: 1.7 wins

Contract: 8 years, $US184 million (through 2018)

One thing to know: Mauer, who is still owed $US69 million over the next three seasons after this year, recently made the move from regular catcher to full-time first baseman as a way to keep his productive bat in the lineup.

9. (tie) Zack Greinke -- $23 million

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: Starting pitcher

2014 WAR: 4.3 wins

Contract: 6 years, $US147 million (through 2018)

One thing to know: Zack Greinke is on pace to have his best season since winning the Cy Young Award with the Royals in 2009. Coincidentally, he can also opt out of his contract and become a free agent after this season.

12. (tie) Mark Teixeira -- $22.5 million

Team: New York Yankees

Position: First baseman

2014 WAR: 0.9 wins

Contract: 8 years, $US180 million (through 2016)

One thing to know: The Yankees appear to be stuck with Teixeira as his contract has been deemed untradeable due to his declining production in recent seasons, his injury history, and his no-trade clause. Their only hope at this point is that the early-season power he has shown will continue all year.

12. (tie) Cole Hamels -- $22.5 million

Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Position: Starting pitcher

2014 WAR: 4.2 wins

Contract: 6 years, $US144 million (through 2018)

One thing to know: Hamels is the third Phillies player in the top 13. However, unlike Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee, Hamels has been productive even if his salary doesn't fit the team's rebuilding plan. As a result, Hamels is a good candidate to be traded at some point this season.

14. (tie) Masahiro Tanaka -- $22 million

Team: New York Yankees

Position: Starting pitcher

2014 WAR: 3.1 wins

Contract: 7 years, $US155 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: Tanaka can opt out of his contract and become a free agent following the 2017 season. However, before he can do that, he needs to show that he can stay healthy as he has been pitching with a partially torn elbow ligament and is considered a Tommy John surgery waiting to happen.

14. (tie) Jose Reyes -- $22 million

Team: Toronto Blue Jays

Position: Shortstop

2014 WAR: 3.4 wins

Contract: 6 years, $US106 million (through 2017)

One thing to know: The Blue Jays general manager said he is open to extending the 30-year-old Reyes by adding more years to the contract he originally signed with the Miami Marlins.

14. (tie) Miguel Cabrera -- $22 million

Team: Detroit Tigers

Position: First baseman

2014 WAR: 5.1 wins

Contract: 8 years, $US152.3 million (through 2015)

One thing to know: Cabrera has already signed a new contract that kicks in next season. That deal lasts eight years and is worth $US248 million, bringing the total package to 16 years and $US400.3 million and there are two options years that could add another $US60 million to the value.

17. Jacoby Ellsbury -- $21.1 million

Team: New York Yankees

Position: Center fielder

2014 WAR: 3.9 wins

Contract: 7 years, $US153 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: One of the big free agent prizes following the 2013 season, Ellsbury is off to a hot start in year No. 2.

18. (tie) Adrian Gonzalez -- $21 million

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: First baseman

2014 WAR: 3.5 wins

Contract: 7 years, $US154 million (through 2018)

One thing to know: Gonzalez was originally signed to a long-term extension by the Boston Red Sox after being acquired in a trade from the San Diego Padres following the 2010 season. However, he played less than two seasons with the Red Sox before they traded him to the Dodgers, agreeing to pay $US11.7 million of the more than $US127 million left on his deal at the time.

18. (tie) Jayson Werth -- $21 million

Team: Washington Nationals

Position: Right fielder

2014 WAR: 5.0 wins

Contract: 7 years, $US126 million (through 2017)

One thing to know: Werth, who was a big free agent splash by the Nationals prior to the 2011 season, has been productive at times but has not lived up to the size of the contract.

18. (tie) Alex Rodriguez -- $21 million

Team: New York Yankees

Position: Designated hitter

2014 WAR: Did not play

Contract: 10 years, $US275 million (through 2017)

One thing to know: Alex Rodriguez recently hit his 660th career home run, matching Willie Mays on the all-time list. A marketing contract signed by Rodriguez in conjunction with his playing contract calls for the Yankees to pay A-Rod $US6 million for reaching the milestone. However, all indications are that the Yankees will refuse to pay the bonus.

18. (tie) Matt Kemp -- $21 million

Team: San Diego Padres

Position: Right fielder

2014 WAR: 1.3 wins

Contract: 8 years, $US160 million (through 19)

One thing to know: The Los Angeles Dodgers are paying $US18 million of Kemp's salary this year after trading him to the Padres, and will pay $US14 million of the $US86 million left on the deal after this year.

22. Carl Crawford -- $20.5 million

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: Right fielder

2014 WAR: 2.6 wins

Contract: 7 years, $US142 million (through 2017)

One thing to know: Crawford was a four-time All-Star with the Tampa Bay Rays before bolting for a huge free agent contract with the Red Sox. Crawford never played well in Boston and he was quickly traded to the Dodgers less than two years into the deal.

23. (tie) David Wright -- $20 million

Team: New York Mets

Position: Third baseman

2014 WAR: 1.7 wins

Contract: 8 years, $US138 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: Considering his status on the team and among fans as well as his production on the field, it can be argued that Wright is one of the best bargains among baseball's highest-paid players.

23. (tie) Troy Tulowitzki -- $20 million

Team: Colorado Rockies

Position: Shortstop

2014 WAR: 5.3 wins

Contract: 10 years, $US157.8 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: Despite rumours that he could be traded, Tulowitzki is still with the Rockies. However, that could change at some point this summer as the Rockies struggle and Tulo's agent wondered aloud if his client should demand to be traded.

23. (tie) Matt Cain -- $20 million

Team: San Francisco Giants

Position: Starting pitcher

2014 WAR: 0.0 wins

Contract: 6 years, $US127.5 million (through 2017)

One thing to know: When Cain first signed his contract it was the largest ever for a right-handed pitcher.

Now check out the athletes who dominate.

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