Max Scherzer

20 highest-paid MLB players in the 2023 season

Home » MLB » 20 highest-paid MLB players in the 2023 season

With some of the largest contracts ever handed out coming in the past few years, it’s not easy for baseball fans to keep up with the highest paid MLB players in 2023.

It seems like the records for the highest baseball salary are constantly being broken. Who can keep up with it all?

That’s why we wanted to spend a little time ranking the highest-paid MLB players in 2023, just so we’re all caught up and on the same page.

Highest paid MLB players 2023

Obviously, there is a strong and ever-growing link between money and success in baseball.

Teams are spending as freely as ever with fans needing free agency explained to them and the luxury tax explained to them. We also base offseason winners and losers off of who spent the most money. For now, let’s just focus on the largest salaries in MLB currently as we count down the 20 highest-paid MLB players in 2023.


20. Chris Sale – $27.5 million

Most baseball fans have probably forgotten that Chris Sale is among the highest-paid players in the league.

Thanks to Tommy John surgery and other ailments, the lefty has made just 11 starts over the past two seasons. However, the Red Sox are cautiously optimistic he’ll be able to stay healthy in 2023 and can start giving them a performance that’s on par with his salary.

19. Bryce Harper – $27.53 million

It’s surprising to see Bryce Harper so far from the top of this list considering he briefly held the record for the largest MLB contract ever signed.

Then again, his $330 million is spread out over 13 years, so his annual salary isn’t as high as some other players. He’s set to make a little over $27 million from the Phillies this season, although Philly is unlikely to get a full season out of him after Harper underwent Tommy John surgery during the offseason.

18. Kris Bryant – $28 million

The Rockies never quite seem to learn their lesson. Dishing out monster contracts has rarely worked out for them in the past, and the first season after Kris Bryant signed a seven-year contract worth $182 million didn’t seem to pan out either.


Coming off arguably the worst season of his career, Bryant will try again in 2023 and hope give the Rockies what they’re paying for.

17. Jose Altuve – $29 million

No matter what the Astros are paying Jose Altuve, it’s hard to argue that he isn’t worth it. The guy is a former MVP and a three-time batting champ who has been an integral part of Houston’s two World Series titles over the last six years.

He still has two years left on his contract with the Astros and is making a pretty penny before getting a chance at free agency after the 2024 season.

T15. Jacob deGrom – $30 million

When he’s healthy, Jacob deGrom is worth at least $30 million per season, probably more. The problem is that he’s had a hard time staying healthy in recent years.

However, the Rangers were willing to take that risk, giving deGrom a five-year, $185 million deal this past offseason. Already 34 and showing signs of breaking down, this could end up being a terrible contract. However, if deGrom can stay healthy and pitch at a Cy Young level, his $30 million salary will look like a bargain compared to some other pitchers.

T15. Shohei Ohtani – $30 million

Next offseason, Shohei Ohtani is likely to make history by signing the largest contract in MLB history. But he also made history this past offseason when he and the Angels agreed to a $30 million salary in his final year of arbitration.

That’s a record salary for an arbitration-eligible player. Considering that Ohtani is both an all-star caliber pitcher and an all-star caliber DH, the Angels are getting a great deal on Ohtani in 2023.

14. Alex Bregman – $30.2 million

Surprisingly, it’s actually Alex Bregman and not Altuve who is the highest-paid player for the Astros these days. In 2019, the third baseman signed a six-year, $100 million extension with the Astros to cover his arbitration years and first two years of free agency.

While he hasn’t been an all-star since 2019, Bregman has still been a part of two World Series titles in Houston and a consistent figure for the Astros, making him worth such a high salary.

T12. Miguel Cabrera – $32 million

In his final season in the big leagues, Miguel Cabrera will make $32 million. This will be the final year of an eight-year extension worth $248 million that Cabrera signed in 2014.

Obviously, Cabrera is no longer putting up numbers to justify a $32 million salary. But during his time in Detroit, Cabrera won four batting titles, two MVPs, and one Triple Crown, so the Tigers got plenty out of him for the millions upon millions they’ve paid him over the years.

T12. Giancarlo Stanton – $32 million

While the Yankees didn’t sign Giancarlo Stanton to his 13-year, $325 million contract, they’re the ones on the hook for most of it.

The good news is that it’s no longer the richest contract in baseball. However, it’s been a few years since Stanton produced at a level that’s comparable to his $32 million salary. Yet, the Yankees will pay him that amount for three more years before his salary starts to decline during the latter years of his contract.

11. Carlos Correa – $33.3 million

After a wild offseason, Carlos Correa is still set to earn more than $33 million this season. Deals with the Giants and Mets fell through, but Correa was still able to squeeze six years and $200 million out of the Twins.

Only time will tell if Correa’s body can hold up over the length of a long-term deal. But for the time being, he’s still performing at a level to justify such a huge salary in 2023.

10. Francisco Lindor – $34.1 million

After a subpar season during his first year in New York, Francisco Lindor looked a little more like himself in 2022. That’s a relief for the Mets, who are still on the hook for most of the 10-year, $341 million extension Lindor signed after coming to New York.

He might not be fully worth his $34.1 million annual salary, but Lindor is at least coming close.

T8. Stephen Strasburg – $35 million

The Nationals surely aren’t getting their money’s worth from Stephen Strasburg. After his heroics in helping Washington win the 2019 World Series, Strasburg opted out of his contract and signed a new seven-year, $245 million deal.

Alas, injuries have limited Strasburg to just eight starts over the last three seasons. In a way, his salary might be worth it considering everything he did in 2019. But the contract still looks like a disaster with Strasburg being one of the highest-paid MLB players in 2023 with no guarantee he’ll be able to stay healthy.

T8. Nolan Arenado – $35 million

As arguably the best third baseman in baseball, Nolan Arenado is compensated appropriately with a salary of $35 million.

It’s an even better deal for the Cardinals because the Rockies are still paying a portion of Arenado’s salary from the eight-year, $260 million extension he signed with Colorado before the 2019 season.

7. Corey Seager – $35.5 million

The Rangers clearly decided to put their money where their mouth is when they promised Corey Seager a 10-year, $325 million contract prior to the 2022 season. That’s even more money than Texas gave A-Rod back in the day.

Seager didn’t quite deliver during his first season with the Rangers despite being named an all-star. In 2023, his salary will jump from $32 million last year to $35.5 million this year, which is the most money he’ll make at any point of his contract, so the pressure is on Seager to deliver.

6. Gerrit Cole – $36 million

For a couple of years, Gerrit Cole owned the average annual value record by an MLB player. Desperate for pitching, the Yankees gave Cole a nine-year, $324 million deal following the 2019 season.

It takes a lot to live up to such a huge contract, but Cole has done a decent job of being worth it. However, he has since seen other pitchers on the other side of town and one of his own teammates earn a higher annual salary. Of course, Cole will still be one of the highest-paid MLB players in 2023. But as we’ll see, he ranks just fourth in the city of New York.

5. Mike Trout – $37.1 million

It’s almost not fair for Mike Trout to not be the highest-paid player in baseball since he’s been the best player in the game for several years. As we’ll see, Trout isn’t even the highest-paid player on his own team right now.

Nevertheless, Trout still has the largest contract in MLB history ever signed in terms of total worth, as he signed a 12-year, $426 million contract in 2019. In fact, Patrick Mahomes is the only player in North American sports to exceed that value. But when it comes to the highest MLB salaries for the 2023 season, Trout only ranks fifth.

4. Anthony Rendon – $38.6 million 

As mentioned, Trout’s teammate Anthony Rendon will make more money than the three-time MVP this season. The Angels signed Rendon to a seven-year, $245 million contract prior to the 2020 season on the heels of a season in which only Trout had a higher WAR than Rendon.

Unfortunately for the Angels, they haven’t exactly gotten their money’s worth from the first three years of that contract. Rendon has played no more than 58 games in a season with the Angels.

Last year, injuries limited him to 47 games with Rendon hitting .229 with an OPS of .706. Despite those poor numbers, Rendon is still one of the highest-paid MLB players in 2023 and nearly halfway to having one of the worst contracts in MLB history if he can’t stay healthy and start producing.

3. Aaron Judge – $40 million

Coming off a historic 2022 season, Aaron Judge certainly deserves to have one of the biggest salaries in baseball. Judge conveniently put together that season right before hitting free agency, forcing the Yankees to respond with a nine-year, $360 million contract.

Since Trout was already with the Angels when he signed his extension and Judge made it to free agency before re-signing with the Yankees, his contract is currently the largest free-agent deal ever signed in MLB history. For Judge, now comes the hard part of trying to live up to it.

T1. Justin Verlander – $43.3 million

The Mets failed to re-sign deGrom this offseason, so they quickly pivoted toward Justin Verlander, offering him a two-year, $86.7 million contract with a vesting option worth $35 million for a third year.

In the long run, the Mets will save a little money, but in the short term, Verlander is making far more in 2023 than deGrom or almost any other pitcher in the big leagues.

At the surface, it certainly seems like a risk to give a 40-year-old pitcher more than $40 million per season. However, Verlander did win AL Cy Young honors last year after putting together one of his best seasons ever.

T1. Max Scherzer – $43.3 million

In order to avoid any jealousy between Verlander and Max Scherzer, the Mets made sure that the former’s annual salary is equal to the latter’s salary. Scherzer is heading into his second season with the Mets after signing a three-year, $130 million contract.

Much like Verlander, it’s a massive amount of money to give to someone in a short period of time. However, Scherzer is still pitching at a level that makes him worth such a huge investment.

Now Verlander and Scherzer, who pitched together in Detroit earlier in their careers, get to compete over who gives the Mets the most bang for their buck given their identical $43.3 million salaries.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *