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Yankees No Longer Biggest Spenders In MLB

Though they haven’t had much to show for it of late, the New York Yankees have had the highest payroll in Major League Baseball for 15-consecutive seasons. A very impressive streak that will finally come to an end in 2014.

Considering the direction their payroll has been trending in recent years, it should comes as no surprise that the Los Angeles Dodgers have supplanted the Yanks as the league’s biggest spenders.

And the Dodgers didn’t just inch into the top spot either—they surpassed it by a mile. Los Angeles has a projected payroll of $235 million this season, with New York coming in a distant second at $203 million.

Spending disparities are nothing new in baseball, with pay gaps of over $150 million routinely separating the ceiling and the floor. The difference this season is that the gap goes all the way to the top, more so than it has in years past.

The third spot goes to the Philadelphia Phillies, with a payroll of $180 million. The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers round out the top five, coming in at $163 million and $162 million respectively.

A swing of $70 million within just the top five is pretty remarkable. Though not nearly as remarkable as the gap between the money-burning Dodgers and the money-hoarding Houston Astros, who rank dead last in spending at $45 million—almost $200 million less than the Dodgers.

Gotta give the Dodgers props for doing what had previously been considered inconceivable—making the Yankees look frugal.

The Miami Marlins stayed consistently cheap this season, committing just $48 million in salary. They will, no doubt, remain consistently terrible and the seats in that swanky new stadium consistently empty. They are, essentially, the middle finger personified and aimed directly at Miami-Dade County taxpayers, who were swindled by owner Jeffrey Loria.

It seems the Chicago Cubs have finally taken a cue from the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates, who hadn’t made the playoffs for over two decades prior to last season. They slashed payroll almost $30 million this year, down to $89 million. If you’re gonna be terrible, the least you can do is save some money.

The average MLB salary is projected to fall between $3.95 million and $4 million, which represents an 8-10 percent rise from last year’s opening salary of $3.65 million. It’s the largest increase since 2001.

An AP report noted the rapid escalation in average salary, which has more than tripled in just the last 18 years. When Derek Jeter entered the league in 1995, the opening-day average was just $1.07 million.

It’s a rate of growth that has to slow or stall at some point, because it’s hard to imagine the market withstanding an average salary of $12 million in 2032.

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