As July starts, the date of the midsummer classic fast approaches once again. That’s right, baseball’s biggest night of stars is coming up — the annual All-Star Game. It promises to bring much of the best baseball talent in the entire world — as well as plenty of aging superstars coasting on reputation and various mediocre Yankees starters — onto a single field of play.
But as it does each and every year, the game launches another debate: How good would one of these teams be if it were to really play together for more than a day? If you were to go out and buy the very best baseball team that money could buy, how much would you be out? So, here’s a closer look at both All-Star Teams and what they’re getting paid to give you a sense of what it would cost to field the All-Star Teams on a regular basis.
With the Yankees, Twins and Astros each holding strong leads in their division, the competition for the American League is just heating up. But this year’s All-Star Team is a healthy mix of rising stars and familiar faces.
Catcher: Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees
2019 Adjusted Salary: $669,800
A little over $650,000 a year might be a stellar salary for an investment banker, but it’s pretty low for an All-Star catcher who crushed 23 homers through the end of June. But, the way contracts are structured, younger players who have just hit the league play on limited contracts, only scoring the mega-deals after they can file for free agency.
First Base: Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians
2019 Adjusted Salary: $18,333,333
Indians fans were upset to see fan favorite Carlos Santana sign with the Phillies prior to the 2018 season, but his free agency meant it was time for a bigger payday. Fortunately for them, they didn’t need to wait long. After just one season in Philadelphia, Santana is back in an Indians uniform for 2019 and has been voted the starter at first for the All-Star Game.
Second Base: D.J. LeMahieu, New York Yankees
2019 Adjusted Salary: $12,000,000
D.J. LaMahieu is fast becoming a household name. And that’s not just because he’s moved to the nation’s biggest media market after putting together solid but not great numbers during his time in Colorado. LaMahieu is also crushing the ball, hitting 0.345 on the season with an OPS north of 0.900.
Third Base: Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
2019 Adjusted Salary: $2,307,166
Here’s another player who stands to be making well north of $20 million a season once he hits free agency: Alex Bregman. He’s only recently started to become well-known to baseball fans after standing out during Houston’s run to the World Series two years ago.
Shortstop: Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins
2019 Adjusted Salary: $3,583,333
Polanco might have notched double-digit home runs and steals during his 2017 campaign, but he was hardly setting the world on fire prior to 2019. Now, Polanco’s hot Twins team is atop the American League Central and Polanco is hitting 0.320 with an OPS of 0.899.
Outfield: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
2019 Adjusted Salary: $17,666,667
A little under $18 million for the world’s best baseball player — possibly en route to being the greatest ever — is a downright steal. However, it has to be noted that Trout is in his final year at that rate before his base salary soars to north of $35 million a year and stays there through 2030.
Outfield: George Springer, Houston Astros
2019 Adjusted Salary: $12,000,000
George Springer is in the middle of what could be an MVP season, launching 18 homers in just the first three months of play. However, a hamstring strain recently forced him to the injured list, so the missed time could end up costing him when they start voting for the end of the year awards.
Outfield: Michael Brantley, Houston Astros
2019 Adjusted Salary: $16,000,000
When the Astros signed this veteran Indians outfielder in December, not a lot of people pegged it as an especially important acquisition. Now, though, with the Astros atop the AL West and Brantley taking a break from absolutely raking to start in the All-Star Game, it’s now looking like one of the better free-agent signings of the season.
Designated Hitter: Hunter Pence, Texas Rangers
2019 Adjusted Salary: $2,000,000
This being the American League, there is a designated hitter voted in as a starter. This year sees veteran Hunter Pence — now on his third team with the Texas Rangers — take the honor.
Combined 2019 Adjusted Salary: $106,961,833
The American League is rostering 12 pitchers this year, mixing bullpen arms with starters to give them plenty of potential innings without having to stretch anyone’s pitch count.
Combined 2019 Adjusted Salary: $77,451,500
The reserves are usually hand-selected by the manager of the All-Star Team with a careful eye towards having every American league team represented by at least one player. But to be clear, only on All-Star Weekend could this crew be considered “reserves.”
Total: American League
Total for Starters: $84,560,299
Total for Pitchers: $106,961,833
Total for Reserves: $77,451,500
Total Cost of Team: $268,973,632
So, if you were to put all of the American League All-Star Team onto a single roster for the whole season, you would end up spending just shy of $270 million. That’s more than any single MLB club, but not by as much as you might assume based on the quality of players. The Boston Red Sox are spending $225 million-plus for 2019 (and are currently four games behind the AL East rival Tampa Bay Rays, last in the league for payroll at just over $60 million).
Actually, when you consider that the All-Star Rosters go to 32 players to stock additional pitchers, the per-player costs are even higher. The 25 players rostered by the Red Sox are costing them a little over $9 million apiece, while the average player salary for the All-Star Team is a little under $8.5 million.
The Dodgers are running away with the National League behind their excellent starting pitching, but battles over the Central and East are shaping up to be ones to watch all season.
Catcher: Wilson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
2019 Adjusted Salary: $684,000
Much like the starting catcher on the American League side, Wilson Contreras is still playing on his rookie contract and is, therefore, years away from getting a chance to make real money. So, despite being among the league’s top-hitting catchers, Contreras is clearing just short of $700,000 for 2019.
First Base: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
2019 Adjusted Salary: $21,359,375
Freeman has become a staple of the Braves line-up, hitting 0.300 in each of the last four seasons. He managed to hit 22 home runs just through the end of June in 2019 — especially impressive when you consider he hit 23 across all of last season.
Second Base: Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks
2019 Adjusted Salary: $2,000,000
Middle-infield speedster Ketel Marte never quite managed to stick in Seattle after spending four years in their farm system and part of two seasons with the major league club. However, he appears to have found a major power stroke since arriving in Arizona despite never really becoming a prolific base stealer at the major league level. He hit 14 homers last season after never producing more than five in a previous season, and he’s already hit 20 in 2019.
Third Base: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
2019 Adjusted Salary: $26,000,000
Sure, it’s at least possible that some of Arenado’s numbers are inflated by playing in Coors Field. However, that does little to explain his reputation as one of the better defensive third basemen in baseball. As such, seeing Arenado here — his fifth-straight appearance in the game — should come as no surprise.
Shortstop: Javier Báez, Chicago Cubs
2019 Adjusted Salary: $5,200,000
While he continues to strike out a lot, Javier Báez has molded himself into a formidable power hitter in the last couple years — crushing 34 home runs in 2018 while adding an impressive 21 steals. In 2019, he appears to be on track for an even better year as he’s already mashed 20 taters in just half a season.
Outfield: Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
2019 Adjusted Salary: $9,750,000
The Milwaukee Brewers parted with four players to get outfielder Christian Yelich prior to last season. And while that might have seemed steep at the time, Yelich has exploded onto the national scene — winning the NL MVP last year. Of course, he appears to be hitting even better in 2019, with an OPS of 1.129 and 29 homers just through June.
Outfield: Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
2019 Adjusted Salary: $605,000
Another elite player still earning peanuts on their rookie contract, Cody Bellinger is fast proving to be one of the best players in the National League. And while his 2019 power numbers are incredible — he hit 27 home runs in just the first three months of the season — his eight steals through the end of June imply that he’s hot on the basepaths as well.
Outfield: Ronald Acuña, Jr., Atlanta Braves
2019 Adjusted Salary: $13,000,000
Last year’s NL Rookie of the Year winner appears to be committed to ensuring that he doesn’t suffer through any sophomore slumps. After hitting 26 homers and swiping 16 bags in all of last season, Acuña is currently sitting on 20 dingers and 13 steals in 2019 with three full months left to play.
Total Adjusted 2019 Salaries: $139,955,522
The cost of the NL pitching staff alone — which includes three $30 million a year-plus arms in Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke — runs nearly $140 million. That’s more than the league-average team payroll of about $135 million.
Total Adjusted 2019 Salaries: $90,869,713
The combined salary of the “reserves” for the NL team is just over $90 million, putting it over $25 million higher than the combined salaries for the starters.
Total: National League
Total for Starters: $66,598,375
Total for Pitchers: $90,869,713
Total for Reserves: $139,955,522
Total Cost of Team: $297,423,610
Driven by the incredible cost of the three-star aces pitching for the National League, the total cost of the team’s payroll would run to nearly $300 million. Once again, that’s more than any NL team, but not by as much as you would figure.
The top club for payroll in the National League is the Chicago Cubs and their $211 million in player payrolls. But, once again, that’s for 25 players, not the 32 on an All-Star team. On a per-player basis, the Cubs are spending roughly $8.5 million per player while the All-Star Club would have an average salary of $9.3 million.
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