Less than one month into the Major League Baseball season, one noteworthy record has already fallen: For the first time in MLB history, the league’s total payroll this year surpassed $3 billion. Marking another record for the league, 14 of the 30 teams have a current payroll of more than $100 million.
New data from USA Today shows the new season brought increases in payroll for 17 of the league’s 30 teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals. The Cardinals have seen steady success over the years, reaching the postseason three of the last four seasons. The Royals, on the other hand, haven’t made the playoffs since they won the World Series in 1985.
The Cardinals saw a payroll increase of 4.5 percent from last year to this year, just above the league’s increase of 3.5 percent. Their 2013 payroll of $115.2 million is the MLB’s 10th largest. The Royals’ payroll has increased 33.8 percent since last season. At $81.5 million, their payroll ranks 19th in all of baseball.
The Cardinals have four players making more than $10 million, with outfielder Matt Holliday bringing in a team-high $16.3 million. Two Royals players make more than $10 million; starting pitcher Ervin Santana leads the team with a salary of $13 million.
The overall league payroll has increased steadily over the years, as has the league’s minimum salary. A mere $12,000 in 1970, the minimum salary has risen to $490,000 today. That figure was at $414,000 in 2011 and $480,000 last season.
In total, 32 players make the minimum salary of $490,000. The Cardinals have four players making the league minimum. No Kansas City players make the league minimum.
The average MLB salary grew to $3.6 million this season, a 5.9 percent increase from last year. The Cardinals are above that mark with an average player salary of $3.9 million. The Royals are below average, paying their players an average of $3.0 million. The MLB ranks second of the four major sports in average player salary, behind the NBA and ahead of the NHL and NFL.