This year’s World Series begins on Oct. 23. Franchises looking to become World Series-winners often have to spend loads of money, which makes it all the better for players with top talent. It takes a lot of skill to make it to “the show” — and if the player can rise above the rest while they’re there, they have the right to command some serious cash. GOBankingRates took a look at the elite MLB stars and what their salaries look like.
Click through to read about the richest athletes in the big leagues.
19. Josh Donaldson
For third baseman Josh Donaldson, winning the 2015 American League MVP award led to one of the nicest paydays in baseball. Donaldson inked a two-year, $28.65 million deal to firmly cement himself in the upper echelons of MLB salaries. The three-time All-Star agreed to a one-year, $23 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in 2018. However, the team traded him to the Cleveland Indians in September 2018.
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18. J.D. Martinez
Thirty-one-year-old outfielder J.D. Martinez scored himself a $110 million engagement with Fenway Park’s Green Monster thanks to the contract he signed with the Boston Red Sox in February. As one of the newest members of the BoSox, Martinez takes his talents across the country after becoming the 18th player in MLB history to hit four home runs in a single game, which he did during the 2017 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
17. Jordan Zimmermann
Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann looked to earn his stripes with the Detroit Tigers after the team signed him to a five-year, $110 million contract in November 2015. He got off to a good start the following season when he became just the sixth pitcher ever to finish April with five-plus wins and no losses. However, he struggled through his 2017 season with a number of injuries and a losing record.
Fans hope Zimmermann can return to the form that made him one of the highest-paid players in the majors. Until then, you might want to add his jersey to your list of things not to buy at an MLB game.
16. Robinson Canó
With a net worth around $25 million and a yearly salary of $24 million, this 35-year-old slugger for the Seattle Mariners hit it out of the park in terms of his payday. The second baseman was a long-time player for the New York Yankees — winning a World Series with them in 2009 — and has been named an All-Star eight times.
15. Giancarlo Stanton
A handsome payday didn’t come straight out of left field for New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton — he actually nabbed it playing mostly in right field. Stanton boasts a net worth of $20 million. He’ll likely see that figure go up with the 13-year, $325 million deal he signed with the Marlins that followed him with his trade to the Yankees. That was the richest contract in U.S. sports history, according to Forbes.
14. Yu Darvish
Japan’s Yu Darvish made a big leap across the Pacific to play in the majors and scored a big payday to accompany the journey. The right-handed pitcher got his start in Japanese professional baseball before coming stateside in 2012 to play for the Texas Rangers. After a brief stop with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he’s now a member of the Chicago Cubs, having inked a six-year, $126 million deal with the team in February — one the Cubs hope will help them recapture 2016’s World Series glory.
13. Joey Votto
This slugging first baseman came down from Canada to light things up in Cincinnati — and he’s definitely earning his keep. Votto has played with the Reds since his MLB debut in 2007 and has had plenty of time to bank some serious cash in the big leagues. In 2012, he signed a 10-year, $225 million contract extension with the Reds, which contributed to his net worth of $138 million.
12. Felix Hernandez
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to Mariners fans that King Felix commands a massive payday. Having the distinction of throwing the first perfect game in Seattle Mariners history in 2012, Hernandez got rewarded handsomely for his efforts a year later when he scored a seven-year extension with the team to the tune of $175 million.
11. Albert Pujols
When it comes to superstars in modern baseball, many people would put Albert Pujols near the top of the list. Having been a dominant force since his 2001 MLB debut, Pujols played 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals before free agency arrived in late 2011. He was toying with offers from multiple teams before settling with the Los Angeles Angels and a 10-year, $254 million deal.
10. Jake Arrieta
Jake “the Snake” Arrieta began his baseball career with the Baltimore Orioles in 2007 with a signing bonus of $1.1 million. He then played for the Cubs for several years before signing a three-year, $75 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in March.
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9. Jon Lester
Cubs pitcher Jon Lester has an impressive resume. As a three-time World Series champ and lymphoma survivor to boot, he’s earned his right to command a pretty impressive salary. After nine seasons with the Red Sox — and a short stint with the Oakland Athletics — Lester finally got his big payday: a six-year, $155 million deal with the Cubs.
8. Justin Verlander
Although some people know Verlander as Mr. Kate Upton, he’s earned plenty of accolades in his own right as a Cy Young Award winner and seven-time All-Star. After 13 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Verlander was traded to the Houston Astros in 2017 and helped them win the World Series. Prior to that move, Verlander earned the distinction of being the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history (at least for a while) with a seven-year, $180 million contract he inked with the Tigers back in 2013.
7. Jason Heyward
Another Cubbie to make the list, J-Hey snagged himself a pretty impressive payday in Chicago. The right fielder started his MLB career with the Atlanta Braves for five seasons. After a one-year stint in St. Louis, he signed an eight-year, $184 million contract with the Cubs in 2016.
6. Yoenis Cespedes
A massive payday is no shock to fans who’ve followed the career of “La Potencia.” The talented outfielder landed with his fourth MLB team in two years when he was traded to the New York Mets during the 2015 season, helping them reach the World Series. Following that campaign, the Mets signed Cespedes to a four-year, $110 million contract with a no-trade clause.
5. Miguel Cabrera
Another Detroit Tiger, Miggy has gained fame as one of baseball’s best hitters over the past decade and a half. He won the American League Triple Crown in 2012, becoming the first player in 45 years to do so. In 2014, Cabrera’s prowess at the plate warranted a massive paycheck in the form of an eight-year contract extension worth $248 million, which brought his total payday to a 10-year commitment worth $292 million.
4. David Price
When the Red Sox signed five-time All-Star pitcher David Price in 2015, they decided they wanted to break some records of their own. After a career that included stops with the Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays, Price finally put a price tag on his success: a seven-year, $217 million deal, which at the time was the biggest contract ever for a starting pitcher.
3. Zack Greinke
Out west in Arizona, Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke has enjoyed success both on and off the field. After his career was nearly derailed in 2005 and 2006 due to battles with severe depression and anxiety, he re-entered the world of baseball in 2007 and worked his way back up the ranks to the top of the crop, earning the American League Cy Young Award in 2009. That triumph also came with a handsome payday of $206.5 million over six years.
2. Mike Trout
The “Millville Meteor’s” on-field brilliance has lit up the Angels since his major league debut in 2011. Widely regarded as one of the best young players in baseball history, Trout scored himself a sweet payday in 2014 with a six-year, $144.5 million extension.
1. Clayton Kershaw
At the top of the list is Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who has already put together a stellar career with seven All-Star selections, a National League MVP and three Cy Young Awards.
In the process, Kershaw has been well-compensated, to the tune of a seven-year, $215 million contract extension in January 2014 following his second Cy Young award. The deal’s average annual value of $30.7 million was the largest ever for a baseball player before being surpassed by David Price.
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