The players union released its annual report on player salaries on Wednesday and it was interesting enough to share some relevant details. In 2013, the average major league salary was a record $3.39 million. That’s a 5.4 percent jump from 2012′s average salary of $3.2 million, and the largest jump since 2006. This comes of the heels of a Forbes report that Major League Baseball’s 2013 gross revenues will exceed $8 billion for the first time thanks to growing television contracts. Baseball is doing well, but the players’ share of the revenue has declined.
With much of the Nationals roster coming of age at the same time, the team’s payroll has grown, too. We’ve examined the Nationals’ 2014 salary commitments here before, but the players union study revealed additional interesting details about the team’s 2013 payroll. The Nationals average salary in 2013 was $4.1 million, eighth highest in the majors. That’s a whopping 44.6 percent increase from their 2012 average salary of $2.8 million. From 2012 to 2013, the Nationals average salary jumped from 17th in the majors to eighth highest. The Nationals are in a top-10 market and a contending team, and their payroll is reflecting it.
The New York Yankees, obviously, again had the highest average salary in 2013 at $8.2 million. The Los Angeles Dodgers were second with an average salary of $7.8 million. The next highest: the Detroit Tigers ($5.5 million), Boston Red Sox ($5.4 million), Philadelphia Phillies ($4.9 million), San Francisco Giants ($4.7 million), Texas Rangers ($4.3 million) and then the Nationals. On the far end of the spectrum were the the Miami Marlins, who had the second-lowest average major league salary of $830,000 in 2013, and the Houston Astros, who had an MLB-low average salary of $549,000. The league minimum will be $500,000 in 2014.
The Nationals’ salary jump in 2013 is understandable. In addition to adding high-priced closer Rafael Soriano and starter Dan Haren, the Nationals had seven arbitration-eligible players in 2013, with six of them eligible for the first time. Next season, the Nationals will have eight arbitration-eligible players, including sizable raises for Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond, among others. With contractual raises for Jayson Werth and Gio Gonzalez in place for 2014, and more money committed to arbitration players, the Nationals’ average salary next season could likely rise.