It has been just over a year since the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired without a new deal immediately in place, which resulted in an MLB lockout that postponed Opening Day of the 2022 season until it was resolved.
Since the lockout ended, some teams such as the New York Mets have spent at a record pace. The Mets set a record for the highest average annual salary at $43.33 million for Max Scherzer while also signing Justin Verlander to a similar deal. They also previously agreed with Francisco Lindor on a 10-year, $341 million contract extension.
The Mets are not alone in the high spending. The Philadelphia Phillies signed Trea Turner to an 11-year, $300 million contract, and the San Diego Padres signed Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280 million deal. However, it is the Mets’ $355 million payroll for 2023 that is the highest for a single season in MLB history.
Aggressive spending from multiple teams has played a part in the average MLB salary increasing by more than 11% at the beginning of the 2023 season, according to the Associated Press:
The average Major League Baseball salary was up 11.1% to a record $4.9 million to start this season, the largest jump for the sport since 2001, according to a study by The Associated Press.
After the lockout and during the 2022 season, MLB reached separate streaming agreements with Apple and NBC that are worth more than $115 million per year. A steady rise in ticket prices along with the expanded postseason format have also helped MLB collect more revenue, despite attendance totals dropping.
The increase in overall player contracts reverses a near six-year trend since 2017 which saw the average contract drop by almost 1% in each of the ensuing seasons. That included a decrease to $4.2 million in 2021 after the COVID-19 shortened season.
It’s also important to remember that the average increase is significantly affected by the top of the free agent class. Although the base salary also rose with the CBA, the top players across the sport are doing much of the heavy lifting for the increased average.
Angels spending during offseason
The Los Angeles Angels did not hand out any massive contracts, but they were busy spending to improve their roster. The club signed Tyler Anderson, Brandon Drury, Carlos Estévez and Matt Moore in free agency while trading for Hunter Renfroe and Gio Urshela.
Those acquisitions account for six of their 10 highest-paid players, with Anderson slotted in behind Anthony Rendon Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
The Angels’ active payroll total of $213,470,961 is up more than $25 million from the previous season.
Make sure to follow Angels Nation on Twitter for all the latest news and updates surrounding the Halos!