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Do MLB players get paid too much?

Major League Baseball players get paid a lot in comparison to other jobs, but do they get paid too much? There may not be a perfect yes or no answer to this question but after looking at a few pointers one can make the decision.

Where does the team payroll come from?

Making money in baseball is about more than selling tickets and hot dogs. Each baseball team develops its business model for making money. Like all businesses, some teams do it very well and make a lot of money while others do not. A way teams make money is an MLB-sponsored line of credit which is when sponsors will give teams access to money as long as they get paid back. The biggest system is called revenue sharing and under this plan, all 30 teams put a certain percentage of their net revenues into a pool. Next, that pool is then split evenly between the teams.

What is the average salary of an MLB player?

Most people know that professional athletes including MLB players make a lot of money but most do not know exactly how much they make. In 2018 the minimum salary for an MLB player was 535 thousand per year. The average salary for an MLB player as of 2019 is 4.8 million. Players themselves make a lot but that is also dependent on how much money their team makes as a whole. The MLB team with the highest payroll in 2019 is the Boston Red Sox which has a payroll of 202,597,500 million while the lowest payroll was from the Tampa Bay Rays which has a payroll of 39,129,166 million.

What is the average salary for the working person?

The numbers that MLB teams and players make are astonishing but they are much higher than the typical working person. Even for one of the highest paying jobs which is a physician, whose median salary as of 2018 was 195,842 thousand. However, that is a more respected and upper-class job, the median wage in the fourth quarter of 2018 in America was $44,564. Service occupations were 28,028 while professional occupations were $64,220. Those numbers might seem reasonable; however, those are the averages not the lowest. The lowest paying job as of 2018 was crop workers who on average made between 10,000 and 12,499. To put that to scale the federal poverty line for an individual is 10,830. Some of these jobs are very important to the community, but they are paid so much less, at least in comparison to the amount MLB players make.

What is the difference in salaries and why is it so vast?

Above there are the average salaries and the difference between them is about $4,755,000. That difference is very large; however, this should not be a surprise. MLB players and teams go through many more steps to acquire their money. Along with their typical ways, advertising and sponsors play the largest role in making the difference in pay. Since MLB can be put into the entertainment category, things like television contracts boost their revenue by the millions. A normal service job would make much more money if it was televised like major league baseball. All the steps that these teams and players go through like doing charity events, interviews, wearing certain brands, and training a certain way or for a certain person might make one question if all this work deserves to be paid a lot.

Do they deserve their salaries?

In today’s society, the high salaries of professional athletes are on the front page of every mass media stream. Year after year their salaries continue to rise to astronomical numbers with no end in sight. The average American will never see in that kind of money in their lifetime. Most people argue that athletes do not deserve the excessive sum of money they are paid while others feel that they do deserve their high salaries. Although most believe that they do not deserve their pay, many factors are going into it. Among these factors, a few big factors are the amount of time pro-athletes put into perfecting their play and the risk they take playing. Those two factors alone make it very hard to be on either side of the question.

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What is the chance/probability of playing in the MLB?

It is a little tricky to find the chance or probability of making it to the MLB because baseball tends to see many more levels of play, from fun games to highly competitive, due to fewer barriers to entry. The only semi-clear numbers to be found were from the NCAA in the U.S. for high school baseball players. So, keep in mind, these are the odds of a high school baseball player in the U.S. being drafted. There are bound to be tens of thousands of kids who do not make it as far as high school baseball also not including the kids who come from out of the country. According to the NCAA, about 1 out of every 200 high school students who play baseball will eventually be drafted into the MLB. Further, the odds of actually participating once drafted into the MLB are small as well. Only seven percent of the players drafted into the MLB will play in the MLB. Those odds should be taken into consideration when deciding if they deserve their pay or not.

About how much time is put into playing in the MLB?

Baseball lore is littered with one-game wonders from Moonlight Graham whose brief stint in the outfield for the New York Giants in 1905 was immortalized in “Field of Dreams” to Larry Yount, whose major league career amounted to warming up as the announced pitcher for the Houston Astros in 1971 when his elbow popped. After studying the 5989 position players who began their careers between 1902 and 1993 and who played 33,272 years of major league baseball, three demographers have come up with an answer. On average, a rookie can expect to play major league baseball for about 5.6 years. During those years of play, in season is very busy for the players. During the season, teams play 162 games in 186 days. In those 186 days, along with games almost every day it is not unusual for coaches to show up seven hours before a night game and players to show up five hours earlier to practice their play or go over strategies. All of that is just during the season, now the off-season is spent doing many more things than just training. It depends on their level of experience. Young less experienced players may be asked to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, or Mexico. More senior players will take time off after the season to spend with their families. They may travel or simply hang out at home instead of living out of a suitcase. Most – if not all – are involved in charity work in their local community and/or nationally. They may take part in golf tournaments, bowling tournaments, or other fundraisers for their charity as well as doing events for the team.

They work out every week but don’t get serious about working out daily until December 1 or so unless there’s some physical issue they are trying to overcome. Now most people do not do things like charity events or fundraisers for their community or their people. That alone could have a big impact on how deserving these players are.

Are other professions more important than baseball but paid less?

Some professions are important but yet are underpaid. Surgeons get paid over 300,000 a year and 96 percent of them would say that their job makes the world a better place. Surgeons are very much needed in the world and they are paid very well for their jobs. However, not every important is paid as it should be. For example, teachers are very important especially when it comes to the growth of people, however, some of them end up having to leave the profession they felt so driven to go into because of the low pay. Some might consider this when deciding if MLB players deserve their pay or not. Those people would say that MLB is not needed it is just for entertainment but a profession like teaching is vital for the growth of a country and people and should be paid a lot more if people like entertainers or athletes get paid so much.

How much do MLB players donate on average?

Most know that pro athletes like MLB players donate portions of their pay to charities, but most do not know exactly how much they donate. From 2010 to 2012 the national and American major baseball leagues donated a total of 131,861,634 to charity. That is quite an extensive amount of money donated from players and teams to charities. This is also another very important aspect when considering if these players deserve their pay seeing as only 55.5 percent of Americans donate to charity.


Baseball players get paid an astonishing amount of money each year to play the sport that most of them love. Whether they deserve these crazy amounts of money is a hard question to answer. After taking into consideration the points listed above, I believe one can conclude.

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