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MLB average salary rose 7% to record $4.5M last year but several teams cutting payroll in 2024

 WBN  |    Feb 29th, 2024 5:07pm EST

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball’s average salary rose 7.1% last year to a record $4,525,719, according to the annual report the players’ association issued Thursday, but several teams appear to be cutting payroll for 2024.

After declining in 2021 following the pandemic-shortened season, the average rose 23% over two seasons. The 2022 average marked a 14.8% increase from 2021.

Union figures are based on the 2023 salaries, earned bonuses and prorated shares of signing bonuses for 1,038 players on Aug. 31 active rosters and injured lists, before active rosters expanded for the remainder of the season.

Luxury tax payrolls, based on 40-man rosters and average annual values, increased 12.2% in 2023, according to MLB’s calculations.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have topped offseason spending, giving two-way star Shohei Ohtani a record $700 million, 10-year contract and pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto a $325 million, 12-year deal.

With some significant free agents still on the market, the New York Mets, San Diego, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco, Boston, Colorado, Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox are among the teams on track to cut payroll from last year.

“In the face of record revenues of our game that will continue to spiral upward, we have major market teams, many of which would otherwise be competitive teams, simply cutting payroll and not investing in competitiveness,” said agent Scott Boras, who has yet to reach deals for free agents Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, Matt Chapman and J.D. Martinez.

The Mets and Padres paid the highest luxury tax last year for exceeding payroll thresholds and both failed to make the playoffs.

San Diego along with the Angels and Twins are among the 14 teams who entered the offseason uncertain of their local broadcast revenue because of the Diamond Sports’ Bally regional sports networks.

“When you look at the mass of the decline just in eight teams, you might see well over $300 million that was spent a year ago and that is not being spent today,” Boras said.

Union deputy executive director Bruce Meyer said he will wait until after opening day rosters are set before analyzing 2024 spending.

With some large multiyear deals for players with little or no major league experience, the gap decreased last year for players with two-to-three years service who are eligible for arbitration and those who were not.

Super-2s averaged $1.96 million last year, down from $2.1 million, and the rest of the two-year class averaged $1.1 million, up from $867,000.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb