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The Highest-Paid MLB Players

Joel Anderson

As major league teams gear up for the postseason push, clubs will be counting on their handsomely paid stars to show that they’re worth all these millions. Will $330 million man Bryce Harper be able to guide the Philadelphia Phillies to the playoffs? Or how about Giancarlo Stanton with the New York Yankees? At this point in the season, it’s really time for these folks to earn their money, and that means it’s a good time to remember who has the most to prove.

So, here’s a pre-postseason look at the 25 biggest contracts in the sport, based on the overall value of each deal.

Patrick Corbin: $140M for 6 Years

  • Free Agent: 2025

Pitcher Patrick Corbin signed a deal with the Washington Nationals that averages out to more than $23 million a season. His 3.40 ERA over his first 20 starts for Washington in the 2019 season undoubtedly made the Washington front office very happy.


Cole Hamels: $144M for 6 Years

  • Free Agent: 2020

Cole Hamels signed his contract as a member of the Philadephia Phillies, then was traded to the Texas Rangers in 2015 and subsequently the Chicago Cubs in 2018. The Cubs, seeking a fifth straight National League postseason appearance, will look to Hamels for veteran leadership. He’s pitched in 17 playoff games.

Eric Hosmer: $144M for 8 Years

  • Free Agent: 2026

Eric Hosmer, a first baseman, spent his first seven seasons with the Kansas City Royals until he became a free agent following the 2017 season. In his first 255 games with his next team, the San Diego Padres, he hit 31 home runs.

Chris Sale: $145M for 5 Years

  • Free Agent: 2025

Chris Sale, the Boston Red Sox All-Star pitcher, is in the midst of an unusually pedestrian season, but he set the bar pretty high during his first two seasons in Boston. Sale finished top five in Cy Young Award voting both seasons, striking out an incredible 13.2 batters per nine innings in a Red Sox uniform.

Jacoby Ellsbury: $153M for 7 Years

  • Free Agent: 2022

New York Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury hasn’t taken a major league swing since 2017, but even before that, he’d been a bit of a disappointment. He underperformed compared to his first seven seasons with the archrival Red Sox, where he averaged .297. In four seasons with the Yankees, his average is .264.

Jon Lester: $155M for 6 Years

  • Free Agent: 2022

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester has an impressive resume. As a three-time World Series champ and a lymphoma survivor to boot, he’s earned his right to command a pretty impressive salary. After eight-plus seasons with the Red Sox — and a short stint with the Oakland Athletics — the left-handed pitcher finally got his big payday: a six-year, $155 million deal with the Cubs.

Masahiro Tanaka: $155M for 7 Years

  • Free Agent: 2021

Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka’s massive $155 million pact is yet another huge deal the New York Yankees are shouldering. Tanaka’s earning it this season. The Yankees are in the playoff hunt, and Tanaka’s performance has bolstered New York fans as they wait for ace Luis Severino to return from an injury that has sidelined him all season.

Buster Posey: $159M for 8 Years

  • Free Agent: 2023

Catcher Buster Posey, in his 11th season with the San Francisco Giants, was the 2012 National League Most Valuable Player and has been integral to three World Series championships. With a career average in the .300 range, he’s a six-time All-Star.

 

Chris Davis: $161M for 7 Years

  • Free Agent: 2023

Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis had a pretty incredible stretch from 2012 to 2016, smashing nearly 200 home runs across five seasons. However, the first baseman, who signed a lengthy deal in 2016, hasn’t topped 26 home runs or 61 RBIs in a season since.

Jose Altuve: $163.5M for 7 Years

  • Free Agent: 2025

The undersized Jose Altuve stands just 5-foot-6, but he produces outsized results at the plate. The second baseman has more than 110 home runs and 250 stolen bases across his career with the Houston Astros. He won the 2017 American League MVP award.

Felix Hernandez: $175M for 7 Years

  • Free Agent: 2020

King Felix, as he’s known to his hometown fans, threw the first perfect game in Seattle Mariners history in 2012, and Hernandez was rewarded handsomely for his efforts a year later when he scored a seven-year contract extension with the team for $175 million. The 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, Hernandez has struggled with injuries in two of the past three seasons.

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Stephen Strasburg: $175M for 7 Years

  • Free Agent: 2024

A blazing fastball and devastating curveball led the Washington Nationals to make starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg the No. 1 selection of the 2009 MLB Draft. He led the National League in strikeouts in 2014, and for his career, he’s averaged 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

Jason Heyward: $184M for 8 Years

  • Free Agent: 2024

Another Cubbie to make the list, Jason Heyward snagged himself a pretty impressive payday in Chicago. The right fielder started his MLB career with the Atlanta Braves, playing there for five seasons. After a one-year stint in St. Louis, he signed an eight-year, $184 million contract with the Cubs in 2016.

Zack Greinke: $206.5M for 6 Years

  • Free Agent: 2022

Out west in Arizona, Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke has enjoyed success both on and off the field. After his career was sidetracked in the mid-2000s because of battles with severe depression and anxiety, he found his focus again and worked his way back up to the top, earning himself the American League Cy Young Award in 2009.

Max Scherzer: $210M for 7 Years

  • Free Agent: 2022

If there’s a better pitcher in baseball right now than Max Scherzer, it’s hard to figure out just who that is. In his fifth season with the Washington Nationals, the right-hander has two National League Cy Young trophies to go with the one he earned earlier in his career in Detroit. He led the majors in both innings pitched and strikeouts in 2018.

David Price: $217M for 7 Years

  • Free Agent: 2023

When the Red Sox signed five-time All-Star pitcher David Price in 2015, the team decided it wanted to break some records of its 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.

Joey Votto: $225M for 10 Years

  • Free Agent: 2025

This slugging first baseman came down from Canada to light things up in Cincinnati — and he’s definitely earned his keep. Votto has played with the Reds since his MLB debut in 2007 and is a .300-plus lifetime batter. A six-time All-Star, he’s led the league in walks five times.

Robinson Canó: $240M for 10 Years

  • Free Agent: 2024

With a yearly salary of $24 million — courtesy of the $240 million contract he signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2013 — this 36-year-old slugger hit it out of the park in terms of his payday. The second baseman was a longtime player for the New York Yankees — winning a World Series with them in 2009 — and has been named an All-Star eight times. The Mariners traded Canó to the New York Mets in December 2018.

Albert Pujols: $240M for 10 Years

  • Free Agent: 2022

When it comes to superstars in modern baseball, many people put Albert Pujols near the top of the list. A force from his first season — he was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2001 — the first baseman played 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals before signing with the Los Angeles Angels before the 2012 season. He fielded several offers before choosing the Angels.

Miguel Cabrera: $248M for 8 Years

  • Free Agent: 2024

Miguel Cabrera 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. Injuries have slowed the first baseman/designated hitter’s production, however. A biceps rupture limited him to just 38 games and three home runs in 2018, and a knee injury has hampered his 2019 campaign.

Nolan Arenado: $260M for 8 Years

  • Free Agent: 2027

Nolan Arenado, the Colorado Rockies’ third baseman, led the National League in home runs in three of his first six seasons. In his seventh season in Denver, he is a five-time All-Star. The Rockies expect Arenado, a six-time Gold Glove winner, to man the hot corner for years to come.


Manny Machado: $300M for 10 Years

  • Free Agent: 2029

The Baltimore Orioles traded star infielder Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July 2018, and when he became a free agent after the 2018 season, Machado decided to stay in the National League West, signing his 10-year contract just before spring training started. He had a number of suitors, including the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies.

The deal ranks as one of the biggest sports deals ever, and the biggest free-agent contract in sports history. Or, at least it did until Bryce Harper signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for $330 million. And then Mike Trout for, well, you’ll see if you don’t already know…

Giancarlo Stanton: $325M for 13 Years

  • Free Agent: 2029

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. The 13-year, $325 million deal he signed with the Miami Marlins followed him to New York, where he’s now sharing the field with Aaron Judge most nights.

Bryce Harper: $330M for 13 Years

  • Free Agent: 2032

Bryce Harper was referred to as “baseball’s LeBron” when he was just a teenager. On Feb. 28, 2019, the 26-year-old star signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. That’s expected to keep him in the City of Brotherly Love for the rest of his playing career.

Mike Trout: $426.5M for 12 Years

  • Free Agent: 2031

Mike Trout’s on-field brilliance has lit up the Los Angeles Angels since his major league debut in 2011. Widely regarded as one of the best players in baseball history despite being in only his ninth season, Trout scored himself a sweet payday in 2014 with a six-year, $144.5 million contract extension, then got an even sweeter one in 2019: a 12-year, $426.5 million deal that’s the biggest in baseball history.

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Sean Dennison contributed to the reporting for this article.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Highest-Paid MLB Players