The highest-paid players on every MLB team

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Clayton Kershaw is the highest-paid player in baseball.
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Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Salaries continue to soar in Major League Baseball as 36 players will make at least $20 million in total earnings this season, up from 21 players just three years ago.

However, unlike the other major sports in North America, when it comes to paying players, there are some stark contrasts in team payrolls and how much some teams pay their top players.

Below we take a look at the highest-paid player on every tea, starting with the teams that have the lowest of the highest-paid players.

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


Oakland A’s: Ryan Madson — $7.5 million

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Don Feria/Getty Images

Team: Oakland A’s

Position: Relief pitcher

2016 WAR: 0.3 Wins

Contract: 3 years, $22.0 million (through 2018)

One thing to know: Only three teams have smaller payrolls than the A’s, who were at $70.6 million on opening day.


Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria — $13.0 million

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Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Team: Tampa Bay Rays

Position: Third base

2016 WAR: 4.5 Wins

Contract: years, $ million (through)

One thing to know: Nobody else on the Rays makes more than $5.3 million.


Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen — $14.0 million

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Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Team: Pittsburgh Pirates

Position: Outfielder

2016 WAR: 0.7 Wins

Contract: 6 years, $51.5 million (through 2017 with a 2018 team option for $14.5 million)

One thing to know: McCutchen has rebounded offensively this season, but has become a liability in recent years defensively. There is a good chance he will be moved this year prior to the trade the deadline.


Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton — $14.5 million

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Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Team: Miami Marlins

Position: Outfielder

2016 WAR: 1.7 Wins

Contract: 13 years, $325.0 million (through 2027 with a $25.0 million club option for 2028)

One thing to know: Stanton’s $325 million contract is the largest in MLB history, but is heavily backloaded. His salary jumps to $25 million next season and $29 million in 2021, before peaking at $32 million in 2023, 2024, and 2025.


Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun — $15.0 million

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Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Team: Milwaukee Brewers

Position: Outfielder

2016 WAR: 3.2 Wins

Contract: 5 years, $105 million (through 2020 with $15 million mutual option for 2021)

One thing to know: Braun’s salary is actually $19.0 million, however, $4.0 million is deferred. In all, $18.0 million of his contract will be deferred and paid from 2022 through 2031.


Kansas City Royals: Alex Gordon — $16.0 million

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Getty Images

Team: Kansas City Royals

Position: Outfielder

2016 WAR: 1.2 Wins

Contract: 4 years, $72.0 million (through 2019 with $23.0 million mutual option in 2020)

One thing to know: Gordon recently surpassed ten years of MLB service time with at least the last five seasons all with the same team. That means he now cannot be traded without his permission.


San Diego Padres: Wil Myers — $17.0 million

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Wil Myers
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Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Team: San Diego Padres

Position: First base

2016 WAR: 3.8 Wins

Contract: 6 years, $83.0 million (through 2022 with )

One thing to know: Myers’ $83.0 million deal is the largest in Padres history, however, he will make just $5.0 million combined in 2018 and 2019 before his salary jumps to $20.0 million in 2020. That gives the Padres two seasons to become a contender or trade their bare-handed wonder.


Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis — $17.0 million

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Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Team: Baltimore Orioles

Position: First base

2016 WAR: 2.7 Wins

Contract: 7 years, $161.0 million (through 2022)

One thing to know: Davis has an annual salary of $23.0 million, but $6.0 million each year is deferred and will be paid out in annual payments from 2023 through 2037. That makes the present-day value of the contract approximately $148 million.


Philadelphia Phillies: Jeremy Hellickson — $17.2 million

Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Position: Starting pitcher

2016 WAR: 3.2 Wins

Contract: 1 years, $17.2 million (through 2017)

One thing to know: Hellickson accepted the Phillies’ one-year qualifying offer this past offseason after testing free agency. Because of the qualifying offer any team signing Hellickson would have owed the Phillies a first-round draft pick. Instead, the Phillies will likely try to trade Hellickson for a prospect prior to the trade deadline.


Cleveland Indians: Edwin Encarnacion — $18.0 million

Team: Cleveland Indians

Position: Designated hitter

2016 WAR: 3.9 Wins

Contract: 3 years, $60.0 million (through 2019 with a club option for 2020 at $20.0 million)

One thing to know: Encarnacion has attendance bonuses built into his contract. He is to receive $150,000 if the Indians surpass 2.0 million in attendance and another $150,000 for every $1.0 million if they surpass 3.0 million.


Houston Astros: Carlos Beltran — $19.1 million

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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Team: Houston Astros

Position: Designated hitter

2016 WAR: 2.3 Wins

Contract: 1 year, $16.0 million (through 2017)

One thing to know: Beltran still received $3.1 million annually in deferred payments from his $119.0 million contract with the Mets.


St. Louis Cardinals: Adam Wainwright — $19.5 million

Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Position: Starting pitcher

2016 WAR: 2.9 Wins

Contract: 5 years, $97.5 million (through 2018)

One thing to know: According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Wainwright’s contract situation will become tricky for the Cardinals as they weigh what to do with one of the iconic players of their recent history.


Colorado Rockies: Carlos Gonzalez — $20.0 million

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Carlos Gonzalez
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Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Team: Colorado Rockies

Position: Outfielder

2016 WAR: 1.9 Wins

Contract: 7 years, $80.0 million (through 2017)

One thing to know: Gonzalez is in the final year of his deal and so far there have been no reported negotiations of substance on a new deal. With the Rockies in the playoff hunt they are not likely to trade CarGo which means their best hope is to offer him the one-year qualifying offer after the season and take a first-round draft pick when he signs elsewhere.


Toronto Blue Jays: Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin — $20.0 million

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Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Team: Toronto Blue Jays

Position: Shortstop (Tulowitzki); Catcher (Martin)

2016 WAR: 2.8 Wins (Tulowitzki); 1.9 Wins (Martin)

Contract: 10 years, $157.8 million for Tulo (through 2020); 5-years, $82.0 million for Martin (through 2019)

One thing to know: Buster Olney listed Tulowitzki as a strong candidate to be traded at the deadline, but Jays would almost certainly have to eat a large chunk of the $58.0 million remaining on his contract. Martin rejected free agency offers from the Dodgers and the Cubs prior to the 2016 season, opting instead to sign with his hometown Jays.


Washington Nationals: Jayson Werth — $21.0 million

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Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

Team: Washington Nationals

Position: Outfielder

2016 WAR: 1.1 Wins

Contract: 7 years, $126.0 million (contract expires after this season)

One thing to know: Werth recently said he wanted to play another five years – until he is 43 – although it was unclear if he was joking. Werth also said that he and the Nationals have not discussed a new contract but noted “there’s always a possibility.


Chicago White Sox: James Shields — $21.0 million

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Jon Durr/Getty Images

Team: Chicago White Sox

Position: Startingpitcher

2016 WAR: -0.9 Wins

Contract: 4 years, $75.0 million (through 2018 with $16.0 million team option for the 2019 season)

One thing to know: Shields was traded by the Padres to the White Sox with $57.8 million remaining on his contract. The Padres will pay $30.8 million of that, including $11.0 million this season.


Atlanta Braves: Matt Kemp — $21.5 million

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Harry How/Getty Images

Team: Atlanta Braves

Position: Outfielder

2016 WAR: 0.7 Wins

Contract: 8 years, $160.0 million (through 2019)

One thing to know: Kemp is actually being paid by three different teams this season, including $3.5 million being paid by the Dodgers and $8.5 million being paid by the Padres.


Chicago Cubs: Jason Heyward — $21.5 million

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Team: Chicago Cubs

Position: Outfielder

2016 WAR: 1.6 Wins

Contract: 8 years, $184.0 million (through 2023)

One thing to know: Of the $184.0 million, $20.0 million is in the form of a “signing bonus” to paid after the contract expires. Heyward can opt out of the deal following the 2018 season. After signing the contract, Heyward agreed to pay for a hotel suite for all road games for new teammate David Ross who had recently announced it would be his final season.


Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto — $22.0 million

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Team: Cincinnati Reds

Position: First base

2016 WAR: 5.0 Wins

Contract: 10 years, $225.0 million (through 2023 with $20 million club option for 2024)

One thing to know: The Reds are in rebuilding mode, but Votto does not sound like he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause. During the offseason, Votto said, “I’m looking forward to the team getting better. I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”


San Francisco Giants: Johnny Cueto — $22.0 million

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Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Team: San Francisco Giants

Position: Startingpitcher

2016 WAR: 5.5 Wins

Contract: 6 years, $130 million (through 2021 with a $22 million club option in 2022)

One thing to know: Cueto can opt out of his contract following the 2017 season. Even though Cueto would be walking out on the four years and $84 million left on his deal, Jeff Passan speculates that Cueto would “almost assuredly” get more than that as a free agent.


Texas Rangers: Cole Hamels — $22.5 million

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Team: Texas Rangers

Position: Startingpitcher

2016 WAR: 3.0 Wins

Contract: 6 years, $144.0 million (through 2018 with $20 million club option for 2019)

One thing to know: Hamels’ 2019 option becomes guaranteed and grows to $24 million if he accumulates 200 innings pitched in 2018, 400 innings in 2017 and 2018 combined, and is not on the disabled list with an arm injury at the end of the 2018 season. The deal was the second-largest contract ever for a pitcher at the time of the signing in 2012.


New York Mets: Jose Reyes — $22.5 million

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Elsa/Getty Images

Team: New York Mets

Position: Infielder

2016 WAR: 1.3 Wins

Contract: years, $ million (through)

One thing to know: Reyes was released by the Rockies during the 2016 season with $39.1 million remaining on his $106.0 million contract, including $22.0 million in salary for the 2017 season. The Mets are paying Reyes the Major League minimum.


Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer — $23.0 million

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Stephen Brashear/Getty Image

Team: Minnesota Twins

Position: First base

2016 WAR: 1.0 Wins

Contract: 8 years, $184.0 million (through 2018)

One thing to know: Largest contract ever for a catcher and the fourth-largest contract in history at the time of the signing in 2010.


Arizona Diamondbacks: Zack Greinke — $24.0 million

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Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Team: Arizona Diamondbacks

Position: Startingpitcher

2016 WAR: 2.2 Wins

Contract: 6 years, $206.5 million (through 2021)

One thing to know: Greinke’s salary for 2017 is technically $31.0 million. However, $10.0 million of that is being deferred until after the contract expires. Greinke also received $3.0 million this year from his deferred $18.0 million signing bonus. The deferrals reduced the present-day value of the contract to $193.8 million.


New York Yankees: C.C. Sabathia — $25.0 million

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Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Team: New York Yankees

Position: Startingpitcher

2016 WAR: 2.6 Wins

Contract: 6 years, $147.0 million (expires after the 2017 season)

One thing to know: Sabathia was having a good season at age 37, but recently landed on the DL with an injured hamstring.


Los Angeles Angels: Albert Pujols — $26.0 million

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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Team: Los Angeles Angels

Position: Designated hitter

2016 WAR: 0.9 Wins

Contract: 10 years, $240.0 million (through 2021)

One thing to know: Pujols recently hit his 600th home run. If he can reach 763 career home runs, he will receive a $7 million bonus. He will also receive $1 million per year for 10 years after he retires as part of a “personal-services contract” with the team.


Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez — $26.9 million

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Stephen Brashear/Getty Image

Team: Seattle Mariners

Position: Startingpitcher

2016 WAR: 1.0 Wins

Contract: 7 years, $175.0 million (through 2019)

One thing to know: The contract was the largest ever for a pitcher at the time of the signing in 2013.


Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander — $28.0 million

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David Maxwell/Getty Images

Team: Detroit Tigers

Position: First base; Starting pitcher

2016 WAR: 4.9 Wins (Cabrera); 5.2 Wins (Verlander)

Contract: 8 years, $248.0 million (through 2023 for Cabrera with $30 million options for both 2024 and 2025); 7 years, $180.0 million (through 2019 for Verlander with a $22.0 million vesting option for 2020)

One thing to know: The 2024 and 2025 options for Cabrera become fully guaranteed if he finishes in the top 10 of the MVP voting the previous season. Extension was signed with two years remaining on his previous deal, meaning he had 10 years and $292 worth of contracts remaining prior to the 2014 season. The two contracts combined have the potential to be worth as much as $460.3 million over 18 years. Verlander’s option for 2020 becomes guaranteed if Verlander finishes in the top five of the Cy Young voting in 2019.


Boston Red Sox: David Price — $30.0 million

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Rich Gagnon/Getty Images

Team: Boston Red Sox

Position: Startingpitcher

2016 WAR: 4.5 Wins

Contract: 7 years, $217.0 million (through 2022)

One thing to know: Price’s deal is the largest contract ever for a pitcher. Price can opt out of the deal after the 2018 season. If he does not opt out, his salaries will grow to $31.0 million in 2019 and $32.0 million in the remaining years.


Los Angeles Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw — $33.0 million

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Jason Miller/Getty Images

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: Starting pitcher

2016 WAR: 6.5 Wins

Contract: 7 years, $215.0 million (through 2020)

One thing to know: Kershaw can opt out of his contract after the 2018 season with two years and $65 million remaining on the deal. Kershaw also received a $1.0 million bonus for every Cy Young Award he wins and $500,000 each time he finishes second or third.


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