For the first time in years, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees is not the highest paid player in baseball. A-Rod is out this year due to his drug suspension.
Miguel Cabrera signed a huge $292 million contract extension, but the extension only kicks in after the 2015 season. Cabrera will make the same $22 million for 2014 and 2015 that he was scheduled to make under his old contract for the next two years. That is not enough money to make this list of highest paid players in MLB in 2014.
Highest paid players in Major League Baseball (MLB) in 2014
1. Zack Greinke - $26 million
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke is the highest paid player in major league baseball in 2014 with a salary of $26 million. Greinke, who is married to former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Emily Kuchar, will also make $25 to $26 million a year through the 2018 season.
T-2. Cliff Lee - $25 million
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee will earn $25 million in 2014, which is tied for the second highest salary in MLB. Lee is due to make $25 million again in 2015, and has a vesting option for 2016 for $27.5 million if he pitches 200 innings in 2015, or 400 innings over 2014-15.
T-2. Ryan Howard - $25 million
Ryan Howard of the Phillies will also earn $25 million in 2014. Unlike Zack Greinke and Cliff Lee, who are earning their high salaries, Ryan Howard has not had a good year since 2011. The Phillies owe Howard $25 million more for both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and then they can buy him out for $10 million, or pay him another $23.5 million in 2017.
T-4. Robinson Cano - $24 million
Robinson Cano's new contract with the Seattle Mariners has him making $24 million a year for the next 10 years (2023). I think history will show that the New York Yankees got the best years out of Robinson Cano, and that the Mariners paid him far more than he was worth.
T-4. Prince Fielder - $24 million
Prince Fielder, now with the Texas Rangers via trade, is slated to earn $24 million a year for the next seven years (2020). The Rangers will pay Fielder the full $24 million for the next two years, and then the Detroit Tigers kick in $6 million a year, or $30 million total, for the remainder of the contract.
6. Cole Hamels - $23.5 million
Including a $1 million bonus, Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels will earn $23.5 million in 2014, for the sixth highest salary in baseball this year. Hamels will make the same $23.5 million a year through 2018, and then he can get another $20 to $24 million for 2019 if he meets certain requirements.
7. Mark Teixeira - $23.125 million
Including a $625,000 bonus, Mark Teixeira will earn $23.125 million in 2014 from the New York Yankees. Teixeira will be paid the same amount of money by the Yankees through the 2016 season, and then the contract just ends.
T-8. C.C. Sabathia - $23 million
C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees will earn $23 million in 2014. Sabathia had a bad year in 2013 for the Yankees, but he was worth every penny the Yankees paid him from 2009 to 2012. He will make another $23 million in 2015, and then $25 million in 2016, and another $25 million in 2017 if his contract vests.
I think C.C. Sabathia had a bad year in 2013 because he spent the off-season recovering from arm surgery, which interfered with his normal routine to get ready for the season. I expect Sabathia to be back to his old self in 2014 for the Yankees.
T-8. Joe Mauer - $23 million
Joe Mauer will earn $23 million a year from the Minnesota Twins through the 2018 season.
T-8. Albert Pujols - $23 million
That contract Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels back in 2012 only paid him $12 million and $16 million over the first two seasons. Starting in 2014, the contract starts escalating yearly by $1 million per season from $23 million this year to $30 million in 2021.
What a bad contract. Just as Albert Pujols' value as a hitter has really started to deteriorate, his annual salary starts going through the roof for the next eight years.