MLB baseball players aren’t getting a raise in 2016, at least not younger players and veterans that are barely hanging onto their roster spots. Baseball’s minimum wage will stay at $507,500 per year in 2016, the same as it was in 2015. That’s almost 10 times more than the average U.S. household earns in a year, but far less than what the average big league ballplayer makes.
So why didn’t the baseball minimum wage go up for next season? It’s because baseball’s collective bargaining agreement set the minimum wage to $500,000 in 2014 and called for cost of living adjustments in future years. The cost of living adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. In late 2014 this index went up by 1.5%, which is why players have the $507,500 minimum wage today. This October the index was flat compared to a year ago, which means MLB players will have to make do with the same as last year.
While baseball players are paid handsomely compared to average Americans, not all of them are as well off as some people may assume. Players are only eligible for the $507,500 if they are on their teams’ rosters for the entire season. If they are in the minor leagues for part of the season, they can be paid much, much less. Minor league players can earn as little as $1,150 until they are put on the 40-man roster of a MLB team. Major League Baseball teams are typically allowed 25 active players (who are paid handsomely) and 15 reserve player (minor leaguers).
While nobody’s going to cry over grown men playing a game and making half a million dollars per year, the truth of the matter is that relatively few baseball players are making the kind of money people assume they do. Those that are lucky enough to secure long-term contracts can make hundreds of millions of dollars, but there are countless players that drift in and out of the league with relatively little to show for their efforts.
As with most professions, most of the money flows up to the top. The average MLB salary is just north of $4,000,000. Los Angeles Dodger Clayton Kershaw earned the most of any ballplayer in 2015 with a salary of $32,571,428, more than eight times the league average and 64 times the MLB minimum wage.
Baseball players can earn as much as $400,000 for winning the World Series and a fraction of that for making it to the post season. You can read more about how much players earn from winning the World Series here.
Baseball isn’t the only sport where you can earn big money. NBA players split over $2 billion per year, earning an average of $5,235,864 each. Mixed Martial Artists can earn more than some baseball players in a single night. For example, MMA star Hollly Holm made $1.7 million for knocking out Ronda Rousey, who’s worth several million dollars.