Last week, my colleague Sarah Langs took a look at the highest-paid players in baseball this year. There were a couple of names that might come at a surprise, but not the name at the top.
And that piece got us thinking about all 30 teams, leaving us to wonder who the highest-paid player is on each club in 2020. This does not necessarily mean they are the guy who is on the longest or largest contract in total. It’s just the player making the most this year. This is not to judge the value of the contract: After all, often times, the best players haven’t reached salary arbitration or free agency yet.
The source for the salary info is Cot's Baseball Contracts, at Baseball Prospectus. Please note that you will see slight discrepancies on various sites that report salary info due to how they account for things like signing bonuses and deferred payments.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays -- Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP ($20 million): The Blue Jays’ big offseason acquisition is a signal -- with all those young players -- that the club may be read to make a play soon.
Orioles -- Chris Davis, DH ($21.1 million): Much has been made of how well Davis has comported himself during his struggles of recent years. He should be commended for that, though it’s worth noting it is much easier when you are making $21.1 million a year.
Rays -- Charlie Morton, RHP ($15 million): The Rays don’t typically sign players to free-agent contracts of this magnitude, but perhaps Morton’s success will change that.
Red Sox -- Chris Sale, LHP ($30 million): Sale might not be the pitcher he was at his peak, but he still gives the Red Sox the best chance to win on any given night … and helped them win a World Series, don’t forget.
Yankees -- Gerrit Cole, RHP ($36 million): Cole has nine seasons at this number to win the Yankees a World Series. Well, at least one World Series.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Indians -- Carlos Santana, 1B ($20.8 million): Remember, this originated from a contract he signed with the Phillies. It sure does feel like he never left Cleveland, though.
Royals -- Ian Kennedy, RHP ($16.5 million): This contract ends this year, but, as it turned out, Kennedy ended up being a handy bullpen piece by the end of it … and may fetch some bounty back in a deal at the July 31 Trade Deadline.
Tigers -- Miguel Cabrera, 1B/DH ($30 million): Sure, Cabrera has seen better days, but getting to see him chase 500 homers (he’s at 477) and 3,000 hits (he’s at 2,815) will be among the highlights for Tigers fans the next few years as the team rebuilds.
Twins -- Josh Donaldson, 3B ($18.8 million): Donaldson’s signing this offseason was a sign that the Twins have no interest in giving up their AL Central crown anytime soon.
White Sox -- Yasmani Grandal, C ($18.2 million): With all the young stars moving up the ranks with this team, Grandal may not have the highest dollar number all that much longer.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels -- Mike Trout, OF ($37.7 million): New signee Anthony Rendon ($26.1 million) is actually the third-highest-paid player on the Angels this year after Trout and Albert Pujols ($29 million).
Astros -- Zack Greinke, RHP ($35 million): The D-backs are paying about $10 million of this.
Athletics -- Khris Davis, DH ($16.8 million): The A’s have a couple of Matts who should be streaking past this number awfully soon.
Mariners -- Kyle Seager, 3B ($19.5 million): The rebuilding Mariners have shed most of their big contracts, with only Seager, Yusei Kikuchi ($15.5 million) and Dee Gordon ($13.8 million) making more than $10 million this year. Seattle also has Wei-Yin Chen ($22 million) in camp as a non-roster invitee, but his salary (minus the MLB minimum) is being paid by the Marlins, who released him in November.
Rangers -- Shin-Soo Choo, RF ($21 million): The seven-year, $130 million deal he signed prior to the 2014 season looked like a potential albatross at certain points, but all told, Choo has held up rather well, posting a .365 OBP over the life of the deal.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves -- Freddie Freeman, 1B ($22.3 million): The Braves are going to have to find another extension for Freeman -- currently signed through 2021 -- if they want him to finish his career in Atlanta.
Marlins -- Corey Dickerson, LF ($8.8 million): The rebuilding Marlins didn’t spend huge money this offseason, but Dickerson and Jonathan Villar ($8.2 million) are the sorts of veterans who could be a considerable help.
Mets -- Jacob deGrom, RHP ($25.5 million): The back-to-back NL Cy Young Award winner takes the top spot from Yoenis Céspedes, who was due to make $29.5 million in the final year of his contract before it was restructured this offseason as part of a settlement.
Nationals -- Max Scherzer, RHP ($35.9 million): The seven-year, $210 million contract he signed prior to the 2015 season will go down as one of the most mutually-beneficial free-agent deals in the game’s history.
Phillies -- Bryce Harper, RF ($27.5 million): For all the hype about his contract last offseason, this number is relatively modest compared to some other players on this list. Of course, his contract will be going on quite a lot longer than most.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers -- Ryan Braun, LF ($17 million): While Christian Yelich's reported contract extension will give him the largest deal by total value in club history, his $12.5 million salary for 2020 is actually third behind Braun and Lorenzo Cain ($16 million).
Cardinals -- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B ($26 million): Goldschmidt hasn’t played like an MVP since arriving in St. Louis, but the Cardinals need him to.
Cubs -- Yu Darvish, RHP ($22 million): This looks a whole lot better after Darvish returned to ace form in the second half of last season (2.76 ERA, 17-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio).
Pirates -- Chris Archer, RHP ($9 million): Suffice it to say, this trade has not worked out perfectly for the Pirates.
Reds -- Joey Votto, 1B ($25 million): As the Reds ramp up to contend this year, they need Votto to find his old form.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs -- Yasmany Tomás, OF ($17 million): Arizona’s front office has made a lot of great moves, but would probably like this one back, as Tomas has spent most of this six-year deal in the Minors and is no longer on the club’s 40-man roster. This contract is finally over after this season. Righty Mike Leake ($15 million) is the highest-paid player actually on the D-backs’ roster.
Dodgers -- David Price, LHP ($32 million): Yep, Clayton Kershaw isn’t even the highest-paid lefty in his own rotation, though the Red Sox are still paying for half of Price’s salary.
Giants -- Buster Posey, C/1B ($22.1 million): The Giants are a different team than they were when they signed Posey to this nine-year deal in 2013 … and he’s a different player.
Padres -- Manny Machado, 3B ($32 million): Machado wasn’t bad for the Padres in the first season of his 10-year deal … but they would definitely appreciate a little bit more.
Rockies -- Nolan Arenado, 3B ($35 million): This contract and this salary made a little bit of news this offseason, but not the big news (a trade) that some expected.