Alex Rodriguez leads the list of the highest paid baseball players once again, not losing a dime despite his declining production. At the age of 36, what did you expect? The Yankees rule at the top of the salary charts, but unlike recent years, they’re not the only team with multiple players on the list.
The Detroit Tigers, with pitcher Justin Verlander, the AL MVP, and the big hitting duo of Cabrera and Fielder sent three in the list as well, while the under achieving Boston Red Sox have two players in the top 10 as well.
Number 10 – Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers – $20.1 Million
The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, Verlander became the first pitcher to win the AL MVP award since Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and the first starting pitcher since Clemens in 1986. He’s been with the Tigers since day 1, in 2005, going 107-58 with a 3.52 ERA so far in his career, making four All-Star games. He becomes a free agent after the 2014 season.
Number 9 – Carl Crawford, Boston Red Sox – $20.3 Million
Carl Crawford signed a 7 year, $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox on December 2010, leaving Tampa after nine seasons with the Rays. He had a disappointing first season in Boston, missing the playoffs and batting only .255 with 56 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. The four time All-Star and one time Gold Glove winner has yet to play in 2012, still recovering from offseason surgery.
Number 8 – Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers – $21 Million
Off to a nice start in 2012 as well, Miguel Cabrera, who led the AL in doubles (48) and batting average (.344) is off to a nice start in 2012, hitting three home runs on his first 5 games. He’s a six time All-Star, and has hit at least 100 RBIs for the last eight seasons, playing for the Marlins and Tigers.
Number 7 – Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies -$21.5 Million
A pitcher that has lost a bit of his postseason swagger in recent seasons, leaving Philly for Seattle, then Texas and back again, the 33 year old lefty is part of the super expensive pitching crew in Philadelphia, along with Halladay, Hamels, Blanton and Papelbon, all making eight figure salaries. Lee has won at least 12 games in seven of the last eight seasons, going 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA in 2011. He’s a three time All-Star and the 2008 Cy Young award winner.
Number 6 – Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox – $21.8 Million
Adrian Gonzalez, unlike Carl Crawford, had a very good debut season in Fenway Park, making his fourth consecutive All-Star game, winning the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award. He led the AL in hits, batted a career high .338 along with a .410 OBP and .957 slugging, hitting 27 home runs and driving in 117 runners.
Number 5 – Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers – $23 Million
Fielder spent quite some time in free agency, knowing he’ll be offered something big. Eventually, it came, getting a nine year, $214 million contract from the Tigers. At 27 years old, that seems a much better deal for the Tigers than what the Angels gave Pujols. Fielder made his third All-Star game in 2011, winning his second Silver Slugger award after hitting 38 home runs and 120 RBIs, batting .299 and a career high .415 OBP. He’s already hit two home runs for the Tigers on his first five games.
Number 4 – Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees – $23.1 Million
Entering his fifth season with the New York Yankees, Teixeira struggled again with his batting, finishing with a career low .248 at the plate. His postseason numbers were terrible as well. Still, he hit 39 home runs, finishing with 111 RBIs, his 8th consecutive 30-100 season. He is a two time All-Star, four time Gold Glover and three time Silver Slugger award winner.
Number 3 – CC Sabathia, New York Yankees – $24.2 Million
Like Teixeira, Sabathia joined the Yankees in 2009, becoming the highest paid pitcher in the sport’s history with a seven year, $161 million contract. He won the world series in 2009, not losing a playoff game since the 2009 World Series but producing some unimpressive ERA numbers. He is 59-23 in New York with a 3.24 ERA. He’s a five time All-Star and won the Cy Young in 2007.
Number 2 – Vernon Wells, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – $24.6 Million
Wells had a catastrophic 2011, his first season with the Angels after being traded from Toronto. He finished with a .218 batting average, the worst in the Majors among players with at least 512 plate appearances, including a league low .248 On base percentage. Including 2012, he has three more years left on his contract, owed around $65 Million.
Number 1 – Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees – $30 Million
A-Rod played in only 99 games last season, finishing with 16 home runs (lowest since 1995), 62 RBIs, batting a .276. He’s healthy early in 2012, batting a terrible .176, but the Yankees aren’t doing that much better either. He has yet to hit a home run this year, currently ‘stuck’ on 629. He’s a 14 time All-Star, 10 time Silver Slugger, two time Gold Glover and three time MVP.