Home Run: 10 Highest-Paid Baseball Players of 2012

Bankrate.com
New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles - Game One
.

View photo

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 07: Ichiro Suzuki #31 of the New York Yankees is congratulated in the dugout by teammates and manager Joe Girardi (R) after Suzuki scored on a 2-run double hit by Robinson Cano #24 in the top of the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles during Game One of the American League Division Series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on October 7, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

"Professional baseball is on the wane," said Albert Spalding, co-founder of the sporting equipment company of his namesake. "Salaries must come down, or the interest of the public must be increased in some way."

That was in 1881, only 12 years after the first pro team was founded, but it could just as easily be heard today on any sports talk radio station across the country.

Though it may seem like baseball salaries are detached from the real world -- this year's minimum salary is $480,000 -- America's pastime is firmly entrenched in American supply and demand.

Baseball's top eight years in attendance have all come in the last eight seasons. With an average ticket price of $27 and enormous cable and TV deals, it's easier to see how this multibillion-dollar industry results in an average player salary of nearly $3.1 million -- including those whopping contracts.

In 1988, the New York Yankees led baseball with a total payroll of just less than $19 million. Barry Zito is making more than that entire team as the San Francisco Giants' fifth starter in 2012, but he doesn't even make the list of the sport's richest players, according to figures compiled from Sports Illustrated and Forbes. Overall earnings this year are rounded and include salary and endorsement income.


Adrian Gonzalez

View gallery

.
Adrian Gonzalez
  • Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Overall earnings: $22.36 million

The Los Angeles Dodgers, purchased earlier this year for a record $2.15 billion, wanted Adrian Gonzalez' bat and star power so badly that they not only traded for him and his enormous contract, which includes $21,857,142 for this year, but also more than $100 million in contracts for a second player who is injured until next summer. The Southern California native's haul includes approximately $500,000 in endorsement deals, including Eastern Bank.


Prince Fielder

View gallery

.
  • Team: Detroit Tigers
  • Overall earnings: $23.25 million

When slugging first baseman Prince Fielder signed his mega-contract with the Detroit Tigers last winter, it not only made him one of the richest players in baseball, but it was considered a homecoming to his all-star father Cecil Fielder's team. The elder Fielder once was the richest man in baseball when he was earning more than $9 million per year. Prince Fielder is set to rake in $23 million this season alone, plus $250,000 in endorsements.


Mark Teixeira

View gallery

.
Mark Teixeira
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Overall earnings: $23.38 million

Edging out Fielder is another first baseman and the first Yankee on this list. Mark Teixeira brings in an estimated $250,000 in endorsements and has a 2012 salary of $23,125,000. A power hitter with numbers in decline, Teixeira is not letting his riches sit idly by. Last winter he invested in The Juice Press, a health-drink chain, which is about as common for rich athletes these days as the rest of us investing in new socks.


CC Sabathia

View gallery

.
CC Sabathia
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Overall earnings: $23.8 million

CC Sabathia has the presence to match his salary. Listed at 6 feet 7 inches tall and 290 pounds, the big man's 2012 salary of $23 million makes him the richest pitcher in the American league. His endorsements of $800,000 include Pepsi, Nike Jordan and Subway. (Wonder what 'ol Jared would have looked like in pinstripes.) Sabathia used his riches in part to pay $14.9 million cash for a 12,000-square-foot mansion in Alpine, N.J.


Johan Santana

View gallery

.
Johan Santana
  • Team: New York Mets
  • Overall earnings: $23.8 million

The highest-salaried pitcher in baseball this year at $23.3 million, Santana acted the part when he threw the first no-hitter in the Mets' history on June 1. Unfortunately, that followed not pitching all of last season due to injury, and then shutting down his 2012 season in August due to back inflammation. Santana also earns $500,000 endorsing brands such as Rawlings, New Balance and various deals in his native Venezuela.


Ichiro Suzuki

View gallery

.
Ichiro Suzuki
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Overall earnings: $24 million

Ichiro Suzuki is certainly in the twilight of his remarkable career, and while he won't land any more contracts like the $17 million he's bringing in this year, he is still among the richest baseball players due to his incredibly loyal following back home in Japan that results in incredibly friendly advertisers. Suzuki's $7 million in estimated endorsements is among the highest in baseball, though he's rumored to have turned down tens of millions of dollars in other deals in the past.


Vernon Wells

View gallery

.
Vernon Wells
  • Team: Los Angeles Angels
  • Overall earnings: $24.44 million

Sometimes, you get rich by being at the right place at the right time. For Vernon Wells, that place was the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006. Underperformance and injuries derailed his superstar trajectory, but that didn't change the fact that Wells had already been handsomely paid for hitting a baseball pretty well at one time. He will now make more than $24 million this year from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim plus $250,000 in endorsements.


Joe Mauer

View gallery

.
Joe Mauer
  • Team: Minnesota Twins
  • Overall earnings: $27 million

Joe Mauer is good at baseball. He is also good for baseball, as the hometown player who hits it big and signs a long-term contract with his small market, childhood team. The Minnesota Twins' catcher is also just so gosh darn likable, which apparently appeals to those with dry scalps. Head & Shoulders signed Mauer as part of an essential doubling of his total endorsements this year to $4 million, adding to his salary of $23 million to catch baseballs.


Derek Jeter

View gallery

.
Derek Jeterc
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Overall earnings: $27.7 million

Derek Jeter is 38 years old, which is the Major League Baseball equivalent of entering your 14-year-old dog in a best of show competition. Yet, the Yankee shortstop has put together another exceptional season both on and off the field. His contract with the Yankees pays "just" $15.7 million this year, though he is far and away the most successful endorser in baseball. He's bringing in upward of $12 million this year from names such as Gillette, Ford and his own cologne.


Alex Rodriguez

View gallery

.
Alex Rodriguez
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Overall earnings: $33.5 million

Maybe not the biggest shocker you'll read all day. Yes, A-Rod is once again the richest player in baseball. His $31 million 2012 salary is part of the largest contract in baseball history, totaling $275 million. What might be a bit surprising is that despite being one of the most recognizable names in the sport (once dating Madonna) and in its biggest market, Rodriguez draws only $2.5 million in endorsements, led by Nike, Rawlings and Topps.




More From Bankrate.com

Rates

View Comments (304)

Recommended for You

  • Tycoon buys 30 Rolls-Royces for Macau hotel

    A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he's building in the global gambling capital of Macau. Stephen Hung's $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel in…

    Associated Press
  • 1 Tip To Lose Belly Fat

    It's Hollywood's Hottest Diet And Gets Rid Of Stubborn Fat Areas Like Nothing Else.

    AdChoicesagoodcooksSponsored
  • Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks

    Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks While investors gear up for Alibaba Group 's (BABA) hotly anticipated initial public offering, don't forget about other Chinese stocks that are worth keeping an eye on. Today's Young Guns Screen of

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Only 4 states will see cuts to food stamps

    Cuts to the nation's food stamp program enacted this year are only affecting four states, far from the sweeping overhaul that Republicans had pushed, an Associated Press review has found. As a result, it's unclear whether the law will realize the estimated $8.6 billion in savings over 10 years that…

    Associated Press
  • "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savings

    "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savingsBy the time she hit her late 40s, Toni Eugenia wasn’t sure she would ever be able to retire. Eugenia, 56, a pharmacy technician who lived in Houston, was nearly $200,000 in debt and

    Yahoo Finance
  • SHOE COMPANY: Our CEO Just Disappeared And Most Of The Money Is Gone

    "and like that: he's gone." This is an actual headline from a company press release: "CEO and COO disappeared, most of the company's cash missing." (Via FastFT) In a statement, German-based shoe company Ultrasonic said its CFO,  Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, has been unable to reach the company's CEO,…

    Business Insider
  • Play

    Citi, Bank of America Offer Discounted Mortgages

    Citigroup and Bank of America will offer mortgages at discounted interest rates to help borrowers with low incomes or subprime credit. AnnaMaria Andriotis joins MoneyBeat. Photo: Getty.

    WSJ Live
  • Apple to unveil new iPads, operating system on Oct. 21 : report

    The company plans to unveil the sixth generation of its iPad and the third edition of the iPad mini, as well as its operating system OS X Yosemite, which has undergone a complete visual overhaul, the Internet news website said. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. The iPad is…

    Reuters
  • Best Womens Wrinkle Creams 2014

    Mom reveals simple wrinkle solution that has researchers very excited. Try this free solution today to look and feel years younger.

    AdChoicesBellaLabs.comSponsored
  • Margaritaville casino owners seek bankruptcy

    The owner of Biloxi's Margaritaville casino has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, only hours before a hearing where the landlord aimed to seize the property. The filing by MVB Holding LLC in U.S. Don Dornan, a lawyer for landlord Clay Point LLC, said the company had planned to ask…

    Associated Press
  • Here's What Mark Cuban Wishes He Knew About Money In His 20s

    Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban is generous with his advice. When we asked him what he wishes he'd known about money in his 20s, he said:

    Business Insider
  • Embraer to sell 50 E-175 jets to Republic in $2.1 billion deal

    Brazil's Embraer SA, the world's third largest commercial planemaker, said on Wednesday it booked a firm order from U.S. The deal, which will be included in Embraer's order book for the third quarter, is valued at $2.1 billion, the planemaker said in a securities filing. The planes will be operated…

    Reuters
  • Gold loses luster on Fed; Barclays cuts forecast

    Barclays cuts gold forecasts, sees increasingly bearish backdrop Bloomberg MA MB MC MD ME SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Gold prices dipped Wednesday on concerns about a stronger dollar ahead of the Federal Reserve policy statement and in response to Barclays lowering its gold forecast.

    MarketWatch
  • Fed renews zero rate pledge, but hints at steeper rate hike path

    The Federal Reserve on Wednesday renewed its pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time," but also indicated it could raise borrowing costs faster than expected when it starts moving. In a statement after a two-day meeting of its policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee,…

    Reuters
  • Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More

    Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More Stocks were firm on Wednesday morning ahead of the FOMC meeting outcome. Tuesday’s rally may have sparked higher interest again, and investors are looking for bargains

    24/7 Wall St.
  • Tired of Living Paycheck to Paycheck?

    New website reveals how to save $1,000's when you're living paycheck to paycheck. See exactly how.

    AdChoices Media ForceSponsored
  • Billionaire Investor Says Chinese People Work Harder And Western Companies Could Face Deep Trouble After Alibaba IPO

    Michael Moritz, the chairman of VC firm Sequoia Capital, is a huge fan of Chinese internet companies and reiterated his enthusiasm for the Chinese market in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The billionaire investor described the Alibaba IPO as a “major landmark event” that is as…

    Business Insider
  • Play

    What the Fed Meeting Means for Bonds

    Janet Yellen & Co. are expected to hint at their timetable for raising interest rates. Here's how investors should prepare ahead of the meeting.

    WSJ Live
  • Boeing may have outfoxed Musk, but it could have bigger problems

    Elon Musk is arguably one of the greatest entrepreneurial minds of the 21st Century, but he was outsized an old school aerospace giant. Boeing won the bulk of NASA’s contract for a space taxi.  One of the other companies vying for the deal is SpaceX, the company headed by Tesla’s Musk, will get a…

    Talking Numbers
  • The Government Keeps Helping People Buy Failing Cold Stone Creamerys

    Would you loan someone money to buy a Cold Stone Creamery franchise if you knew that more than a quarter of those loans default? Over the last decade, franchisees in the Cold Stone Creamery ice cream chain defaulted on 29 percent of working-capital loans backed by the government, costing taxpayers…

    BusinessWeek
  • Romney-Sized IRAs Scrutinized as Government Studies Taxes

    The preliminary report attaches data to an issue that drew attention during the 2012 presidential campaign, when Republican nominee Mitt Romney reported an IRA worth $20 million to $102 million. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said many of these "massive" accounts come from deals…

    Bloomberg
  • Russian billionaire placed under house arrest

    A billionaire Russian tycoon was placed under house arrest Tuesday in a money-laundering case that has drawn comparisons with a government crackdown on Russia's Yukos oil company more than a decade ago. The Investigative Committee, Russia's top investigative agency, said that Vladimir Yevtushenkov,…

    Associated Press
  • AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford

    50+? Request a free quote and you could save $404* on Auto Insurance from The Hartford!

    AdChoicesThe HartfordSponsored
  • Facebook Is Hiding Important Information From Investors

    Facebook Is Hiding Important Information From Investors Facebook.com/sheryl On July 23, when Facebook reported its earnings for the second quarter, the company stunned everyone. Revenues were $2.68 billion, up 67% from the same quarter during the year

    Business Insider