Average MLB Salary Increased To Start 2023 Season

It has been just over a year since the collective bargaining agreement 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, teams like 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 Francisco Lindor to 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’s 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.

Dodgers no longer have top MLB payroll

After signing Freddie Freeman to a six-year, $162 million contract just before the 2022 season, the Dodgers had the highest payroll. To begin the 2023 season, however, the Dodgers have dropped from the top spot to fifth, with the Mets, Yankees, Padres and Phillies ahead of them on the list of highest payrolls in baseball.

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