NEW YORK (AP) – Even before the first pitch of the 2015 season is thrown, an eye-popping baseball record will be set.
The average salary when opening-day rosters are finalized Sunday will break the $4 million benchmark for the first time, according to a study of all major league contracts by The Associated Press. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw tops players at $31 million and Los Angeles projects to open the season with a payroll at about $270 million, easily a record.
“We’re enjoying a tremendously bountiful season in baseball,” said Toronto pitcher R.A. Dickey, the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner with the New York Mets.
Fueled by the largest two-year growth in more than a decade, the average salary projects to be about $4.25 million, according to the AP study, with the final figure depending on how many players are put on the disabled list before the first pitch is thrown. That is up from $3.95 million on the first day of last season and $3.65 million when 2013 began.
“MLB’s revenues have grown in recent years, with the increase in national and local broadcast rights fees being a primary contributor,” said Dan Halem, MLB’s chief legal officer. “It is expected that player compensation will increase as club revenues increase.”