Yanks drop to 3rd in payroll; Dodgers lead

An Associated Press study of big league contracts shows the New York Yankees aren't among baseball's top two payrolls for the first time in almost a quarter-century.

The Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed the San Diego Padres to Dodger Stadium on Opening Day, but they didn't leave the welcome mat out too long as Joc Pederson sent a grand slam into the seats to put the Dodgers into the lead.

Detroit was second at $199.75 million and the Yankees, in the midst of a turn toward youth, third at $195 million. The Yankees had not been outside the top two since 1993, and their opening-day payroll had not dropped this low since 2007, according the AP's calculations. NY topped opening-day payrolls from 1999-2013 before falling behind the Dodgers each year since 2014.

Joe Davis has become the Dodgers full-time television play-by-play broadcaster, succeeding Vin Scully, who retired at the conclusion of the 2016 season following a record 67 years with the team. He said he was running to the hardware store and likely wouldn't catch the end.

Likewise, the average salary in Major League Baseball has also more than doubled during that span, going from $1.9 million in 2000 to just a tad more than $4.0 million this season.

For a pitcher who seems to reinvent every year, even as he dominates, Kershaw's changeup might just be the pitch that befuddles opponents even further.

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"The total percentage of MLB revenue that clubs pay to players has remained relatively stable", said Dan Halem, Major League Baseball's chief legal officer. "I would know. So hopefully that makes us a little better this year".

Following their first World Series title since 1908, the Chicago Cubs hiked spending by $7 million to $177 million, that after a $51 million rise going into 2016. But if San Diego were to pull it off, the confidence boost which would be provided as a result would be virtually unparalleled for a season opener. The USA Today database has the Padres at $34.6 million in 2017, meaning that the Padres will be paying more (~$35 million) to players not on their roster than players on their roster. He had 105 at-bats last season with an impressive.315 batting average.

At $33 million, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw topped salaries for the third straight year. He had an insane 1.08 ERA during that time, allowing only nine earned runs all season. The Dodgers are looking very good this year from top to bottom and are ready to take the league by storm.

The total of players making $1 million or more dropped to 487 from 492 a year ago and 508 in 2015, a sign some veteran bench players may have been replaced by lower-priced prospects. All but two players on the 25-man opening day roster played with the team last season.

The Dodgers again have baseball's highest payroll at $235 million, including paying nearly $50 million in salary to players who are not on their 25-man roster.

  • Lawrence Cooper