This year, when baseball's biggest sluggers put their light-tower power on display at the Home Run Derby, there's going to be a million dollars on the line.
The 2019 Home Run Derby winner will get a $1 million prize, Major League Baseball announced Thursday, part of a multifaceted deal with the MLB Players Association.
The total player prize money for the Home Run Derby -- scheduled for Monday, July 8, during All-Star Week in Cleveland -- will be increased to $2.5 million, including the $1 million going to the winner. That marks an increase of nearly $2 million from last year's Home Run Derby prize pool, and from what would have been paid out for the 2019 Derby before this new structure.
The 2018 Home Run Derby had a total prize pool of $525,000, with $125,000 going to the winner, Bryce Harper. Before the new agreement for this season, the 2019 Home Run Derby would have awarded $150,000 to the winner, out of a total prize pool of $725,000.
Starting this year, there will also be more bonuses tied to the All-Star Game itself. As part of the new election day for All-Star starters, the top vote-getters who advance beyond the primary round will receive bonus payments. And the prize money given to players on the winning All-Star team will be increased.
"I have always said if they want guys doing these things, you've got to have some incentives for the guys," Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo said. "The NBA started doing [that], when you win the All-Star Game, the guys on those teams get paid. Now it's more competitive; guys actually want to play. It's a really good idea for MLB to do that."
Recent Home Run Derbies have had plenty of memorable moments and jaw-dropping homers.
Harper won last year's Derby with a dramatic final round in front of an electrified home crowd at Nationals Park -- Harper tied Kyle Schwarber as his regulation time expired, then crushed the walk-off blast in bonus time. In 2017, Aaron Judge's mammoth blasts carried him to a Derby win in his sensational rookie season. The year before that, fellow giant Giancarlo Stanton crushed the field with an overwhelming power display in San Diego. And in 2015, Todd Frazier won it all in front of his hometown Reds fans at Great American Ball Park.
But some superstars have been reluctant to enter the Home Run Derby in seasons past. Mike Trout, for example, has never competed in a Derby. Judge declined to enter the 2018 Home Run Derby to defend his title.