Major League Baseball players make a lot of money, that is obvious, and each year salaries seem to increase, at least for some of the top players in the league. I decided to take a look at the Top 5 salaries from each season, starting in 1996 and going all the way to last season, 2015.
Below is a list for each of those seasons. On each list you'll see the player and his salary in millions for that season. To no surprise, of the possible 100 players that we're in the top 5 of salary the past 20 seasons, the New York Yankees had an astounding 30 of them. Lets say you take the 100 total and divide it by the number of teams (wasn't always 30 but we'll use that to keep it consistent) and hypothetically the payrolls of each team are similar, that would leave roughly 3 players of the 100 for each team. So now putting that in perspective, with 30 players, the Yankees have had 30% of the top 5 paid players in each season dating back to 1996. Compared to if, hypothetically, each team had the same (or similar) payroll it would leave each team at around 3%. Also of note, the New York Yankees also had the Top 3 paid players in baseball from 2006-2008 and had the Top 4 in 2010. When comparing batters and pitchers salaries, the difference is huge. Of the 100 total players, 78 were position players while only 22 were pitchers. And until recently I think this shows that teams are much more willing to spend money on batters than they are a pitcher, with the exception of guys like Zack Grienke, Justin Verlander, and CC Sabathia.
*All Star Alex Rodriguez (Mariners, Rangers, Yankees) had the top salary 11 of the last 20 seasons.
The next chart shows the total salaries of the top 5 players from each of those season and how much it has increased. It also shows the average of the top 5 salaries from each season. From 1996 to 2015, the total of the top 5 salaries in baseball increase from $39.24 million to $130 million, an increase of $90.76 million. And with the exception of 2005 to 2007, it has increased every single year. Based on the chart it may level off some, but I could see the totals easily reaching $200 million in the next few years.
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