The 34 MLB players who will make at least $20 million this season

  • 34 MLB players will make $US20 million or more this season.
  • The top-spending teams separate themselves from the pack, with the Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees responsible for 11 of the 34 highest-paid players in baseball.
  • Thanks to the monster deals signed by Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, both players are set to clear the $US20 million mark for the next decade.

When it comes to contracts in American sports, Major League Baseball reigns supreme.

In 2019, thanks in part to the monster deals just signed by Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, an impressive 34 players will make at least $US20 million in total earnings.

This year, the Red Sox and Cubs lead the way, with both teams paying four players at least $US20 million for their services in 2019. The Yankees are just behind them with three players crossing the $US20 million threshold, followed by the Phillies, Padres, Braves, Rockies, Giants, Tigers, and Angels with two apiece.

Take a look below at the highest-paid players in baseball for the 2019 season.

Salaries and contract information via spotrac.com.


t27. Yadier Molina — $US20 million

Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Position: Catcher

2018 WAR: 1.8 wins

Contract: 3 years, $US60 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: Molina has been with the Cardinals for his entire professional career, making his major league debut in 2004. He’s won an impressive nine Golden Glove awards through his 15 seasons in St. Louis.


t27. Alex Gordon — $US20 million

Team: Kansas City Royals

Position: Outfielder

2018 WAR: 2.4 wins

Contract: 4 years, $US72 million (through 2019, with a $US23 million mutual option for 2020)

One thing to know: Entering the final year of his contract at 35 years old, Gordon will be trying for a massive year in hopes of landing another deal.


t27. Justin Verlander — $US20 million

Team: Houston Astros

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: 6.3 wins

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

One thing to know: Justin Verlander recently said he hopes to pitch until he’s 45 years old. Part of that might be posturing for his next contract, but it’s also a tough claim to deny, given he’s been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball for more than a decade.


t27. Cole Hamels — $US20 million

Team: Chicago Cubs

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: 3.8 wins

Contract: 6 years, $US144 million (through 2019)

One thing to know: Hamels is also in the final year of his deal, and like Verlander, says he wants to play well into his 40s. “I played with Jamie Moyer,” he joked.


t27. Yu Darvish — $US20 million

Team: Chicago Cubs

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: -0.2 wins

Contract: 6 years, $US126 million (through 2023)

One thing to know: Darvish only pitched eight games in 2018 before his season was derailed by injury. If healthy, he could be due for a big year.


t27. Jason Heyward — $US20 million

Team: Chicago Cubs

Position: Outfielder

2018 WAR: 1.6 wins

Contract: 8 years, $US184 million (through 2023)

One thing to know: ESPN ranked Heyward’s contract as the sixth-worst in the majors – he’ll need a big year to change people’s minds.


t27. Eric Hosmer — $US20 million

Patrick Smith/Getty

Team: San Diego Padres

Position: First baseman

2018 WAR: 1.4 wins

Contract: 8 years, $US144 million (through 2025)

One thing to know: Hosmer is another contract ESPN found fault with, ranking him as the fourth-worst deal in the majors, but with the addition of Manny Machado in the offseason, it’s possible that the Padres can make enough noise this year for some fans to reconsider.


t27. Mookie Betts — $US20 million

Team: Boston Red Sox

Position: Outfielder

2018 WAR: 10.9 wins

Contract: 1 year, $US20 million (through 2019)

One thing to know: No one was happier with Bryce Harper’s massive contract than Mookie Betts, who will become a free agent after the 2019 season and with another big year, might make a case to become the first $US400 million player.


t23. Freddie Freeman — $US21 million

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Team: Atlanta Braves

Position: First baseman

2018 WAR: 6.1 wins

Contract: 8 years, $US135 million (through 2021)

One thing to know: Freddie Freeman has been a reliable bat for the Braves for almost a decade now, and with the team’s investments and upcoming young talent, now looks to play a part in one of the most fearsome lineups in the National League.


t23. Shin-Soo Choo — $US21 million

Team: Texas Rangers

Position: Designated hitter

2018 WAR: 2.8 wins

Contract: 7 years, $US130 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: At 36, Shin-Soo Choo is dealing with an injured shoulder heading into the 2019 season, making it unclear how much he’ll be able to contribute to the Rangers this year.


t23. Charlie Blackmon — $US21 million

Justin Edmonds/Getty

Team: Colorado Rockies

Position: Outfielder

2018 WAR: 0.8 wins

Contract: 6 years, $US108 million (through 2023)

One thing to know: With two silver slugger awards in the past three seasons, few players take as full advantage of Coors Field as Charlie Blackmon.


t23. Rick Porcello — $US21 million

Team: Boston Red Sox

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: 3.3 wins

Contract: 4 years, $US82.5 million (through 2019)

One thing to know: Rick Porcello proved his worth to the Red Sox last year, with Boston winning all three of his postseason starts en route to their World Series title.


22. Jacoby Ellsbury — $US21.1 million

Team: New York Yankees

Position: Outfielder

2018 WAR: N/A

Contract: 7 years, $US153 million (through 2020, with a $US21 million club option for 2021)

One thing to know: Ellsbury didn’t play in the 2018 season, making his contract something of an albatross for the Yankees.


21. Buster Posey — $US21.4 million

Team: San Francisco Giants

Position: Catcher

2018 WAR: 2.9 wins

Contract: 8 years, $US159 million (through 2021, with a $US22 million club option for 2022)

One thing to know: Buster Posey has been one of the best catchers in baseball for almost a decade, and a constant through the Giants’ three recent World Series titles. He’ll be in San Francisco as long as he likes.


t19. Johnny Cueto — $US22 million

Team: San Francisco Giants

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: 1.2 wins

Contract: 6 years, $US130 million (through 2021, with a $US22 million club option in 2022)

One thing to know: Cueto had to opt for Tommy John surgery last season, meaning he likely won’t be available for the Giants until mid-summer at the earliest.


t19. Masahiro Tanaka — $US22 million

Team: New York Yankees

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: 2.9 wins

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

One thing to know: Through five seasons with the Yankees, Tanaka has never posted a losing record, and only once put up an ERA over 3.75.


18. Josh Donaldson — $US23 million

Team: Atlanta Braves

Position: Third baseman

2018 WAR: 1.2 wins

Contract: 1 year, $US23 million (through 2019)

One thing to know: Josh Donaldson gives Atlanta another huge bat heading into 2019, setting up what could be a thrilling race for the division between the Braves and Phillies.


17. J.D. Martinez — $US23.75 million

Team: Boston Red Sox

Position: Designated hitter

2018 WAR: 6.4 wins

Contract: 5 years, $US110 million (through 2022)

One thing to know: Martinez had a monster season with the Red Sox in 2018, batting .330 while smacking 43 home runs and 130 RBI – he’s a real contender for the triple crown this year.


16. Zack Greinke — $US24 million

Team: Arizona Diamondbacks

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: 4.2 wins

Contract: 6 years, $US206.5 million (through 2021)

One thing to know: Greinke hasn’t shown any signs of fading at 34 years old – over the past two seasons he’s put up a 3.20 ERA and 414 strikeouts for the Diamondbacks.


t12. Jake Arrieta — $US25 million

Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: 3.1 wins

Contract: 3 years, $US75 million (through 2020, with a $US20 million club option for 2021 and 2022)

One thing to know: Jake Arrieta has one of the more interesting contracts in baseball. While he has the option to opt-out after the 2019 season, the Phillies could void that potential opt-out by picking up the 2021 and 2022 seasons on his deal for $US20 million a year.


t12. Joey Votto — $US25 million

Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Team: Cincinnati Reds

Position: First baseman

2018 WAR: 3.5 wins

Contract: 10 years, $US225 million (through 2023 with a $US20 million club option for 2024)

One thing to know: Joey Votto’s full no-trade clause almost certainly means he’ll be a Red for life.


t12. Jordan Zimmerman — $US25 million

Team: Detroit Tigers

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: 0.6 wins

Contract: 5 years, $US110 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: Zimmermann’s contract includes a slew of solid potential bonuses, including $US500,000 for winning the Cy Young and $US100,000 each for All-Star appearances and Golden Glove awards.


t12. Jon Lester — $US25 million

Team: Chicago Cubs

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: 3.4 wins

Contract: 6 years, $US155 million (through 2021)

One thing to know: Lester’s 2021 season is vested, and will come through as long as Lester reaches either 200 innings pitched in 2020 or 400 innings combined over the next two seasons.


t10. Giancarlo Stanton — $US26 million

Elsa/Getty Images

Team: New York Yankees

Position: Outfielder

2018 WAR: 4.0 wins

Contract: 13 years, $US325 million (through 2028)

One thing to know: Before Harper signed with the Phillies, Stanton’s contract was the richest in baseball history.


t10. Nolan Arenado — $US26 million

Brian Bahr

Team: Colorado Rockies

Position: Third baseman

2018 WAR: 5.6 wins

Contract: 8 years, $US260 million (through 2026)

One thing to know: While people waited and wondered where Manny Machado and Bryce Harper would wind up in free agency, the Rockies decided to skip the tension with superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado, extending him with a massive eight-year deal.


9. Felix Hernandez — $US27.8 million

Team: Seattle Mariners

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: -1.3 wins

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

One thing to know: At the time of its signing in 2013, Hernandez’s contract was the largest ever awarded to a pitcher.


8. Albert Pujols — $US28 million

Team: Los Angeles Angels

Position: Designated hitter

2018 WAR: 0.5 wins

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

One thing to know: If Pujols can reach 763 career home runs, he will receive a $US7 million bonus – he currently has 633. He will also receive $US1 million per year for 10 years after he retires as part of a “personal-services contract” with the team.


7. Yoenis Cespedes — $US29 million

Team: New York Mets

Position: Outfielder

2018 WAR: 0.9 wins

Contract: 4 years, $US110 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: Cespedes’ contract had one of the highest average annual values ever given to a position player when he signed in 2017, thanks in large part to its reasonable length. After next season, Cespedes will be looking yet another big contract.


t4. Bryce Harper — $US30 million

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Position: Outfielder

2018 WAR: 1.3 wins

Contract: 13 years, $US330 million (through 2031)

One thing to know: Bryce Harper’s 13-year, $US330 million deal includes no opt-outs and a no-trade clause, meaning the lefty slugger will likely finish his career in Philadelphia.


t4. Miguel Cabrera — $US30 million

Team: Detroit Tigers

Position: First baseman

2018 WAR: 0.6 wins

Contract: 8 years, $US248 million (through 2023, with $US30 million mutual options for 2024 and 2025)

One thing to know: When all is said and done in Cabrera’s career, he’ll have earned more than $US400 million from America’s pastime.


t4. Manny Machado — $US30 million

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Team: San Diego Padres

Position: Shortstop

2018 WAR: 5.7 wins

Contract: 10 years, $US300 million (through 2028)

One thing to know: It took longer than it should have, but Manny Machado finally found his big-money deal, signing one of the biggest contracts ever to join the San Diego Padres this season.


t2. Clayton Kershaw — $US31 million

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: 4.0 wins

Contract: 3 years, $US93 million (through 2021)

One thing to know: Kershaw receives a $US1.5 million bonus for every Cy Young Award he wins and $US500,000 each time he finishes second or third – an important bonus considering he’s finished in the top three in six of the past eight seasons.


t2. David Price — $US31 million

Team: Boston Red Sox

Position: Starting pitcher

2018 WAR: 4.4 wins

Contract: 7 years, $US217 million (through 2022)

One thing to know: Price set a new high mark for largest contract ever for a pitcher when he signed this deal in 2016. With three straight division titles and a World Series win in 2018, Boston is more than happy with their investment.


1. Mike Trout — $US33.25 million

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Team: Los Angeles Angels

Position: Outfielder

2018 WAR: 10.2 wins

Contract: 6 years, $US144.5 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: Mike Trout has undeniably been the best player in baseball since entering the league eight years ago. Aside from his rookie season, in which he only played 40 games, Trout has finished first or second in MVP voting six of seven years, and never finished lower than fourth. When he becomes a free agent, he will almost undoubtedly become the highest-paid player in the history of American sports.


More of the highest-paid players in sports:

The 25 highest-paid NBA players of all time

The highest-paid players on every NBA team, from Zach Randolph to Stephen Curry

The 29 highest-paid NFL players of all time

The 25 highest-paid players in the NHL for the 2018-19 season

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