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Unsurprisingly, the list of the highest-paid MLB players 2022 features nothing but the crème of the crop, those franchise players who can make a difference and single-handedly turn a team around. Well, at least for the most part, with just a couple of minor exceptions.
Highest paid MLB players 2022
Long before it happened in other major sports leagues, MLB salaries and contracts went through the roof. Needless to say, that also led to some of the worst MLB contracts ever, with injury-prone or not-so-good players cashing in on huge salaries and being unable to pay their teams back on the field.
Then again, it’s not unusual to see the players with the biggest MLB salaries also be the best players in the league.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the highest-paid MLB players 2022 and talk about some of the players with the largest MLB contracts of all time. Buckle up, and enjoy.
20. Jose Altuve — $26,000,000
Jose Altuve‘s legacy was stained over the 2017 Houston Astros cheating scandal, even though most of his teammates claim he had nothing to do with it, nor did he benefit from it. Still, he’s done more than enough to prove that he didn’t need a buzzer or sign-stealing scheme to be one of the league’s finest hitters.
A top-notch defender and a guy who proved to be heart over height, Altuve is one of the reasons why the Astros boast one of the biggest payrolls in 2022. He’s one of the best base-runners in the league and, albeit not known for his power, he’s always stepped up with huge dingers in the postseason.
19. Bryce Harper — $26,000,000
It’s crazy to think that Bryce Harper signed the largest free-agent deal in all major sports history, yet he’s the 19th-highest earner for the season. Following an impressive start to his career with the Washington Nationals, he signed a 13-year commitment to become the face of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phillies haven’t exactly been able to make the most of Harper’s talents, yet he’s been one of the best five players in the world since arriving in the City of Brotherly Love. He’s coming off an MVP campaign and the Phillies revamped their roster for this season, so expect him to put up even better numbers in 2022.
18. Freddie Freeman — $27,000,000
We all thought Freddie Freeman was going to stay with the Atlanta Braves for life, especially after helping them capture an improbable World Series title in 2021. But as you may know by now, there’s nothing written in sports, and the business side of it is ruthless and spares no one.
Freeman will now join the team with the most talent— and largest payroll — in all of baseball. He’ll make the Los Angeles Dodgers even scarier and more stacked as if it was possible.
17. George Springer — $28,000,000
The Toronto Blue Jays wanted to add more veteran firepower to their outfield and did so by signing one of the best sluggers in recent times. George Springer headed north of the border to cash in on $28 million per year after his successful stint with the Houston Astros.
Springer’s combination of power, contact and speed will only make the Jays’ offense even more explosive. Barring another injury-riddled season, he’ll prove to be the Jack of all trades, a guy who can steal bases, rake baseballs, and drive in runs like the best of them.
16. Giancarlo Stanton — $29,000,000
All things considered, Giancarlo Stanton might well have one of the worst MLB contracts ever. At least, most New York Yankees fans will agree with that. Ever since his days with the Miami Marlins, he’s been unable to stay on the field and payback that massive deal with production.
While no one can deny that Stanton is an elite slugger with plenty of power, he just can’t seem to stay healthy. He’s missed plenty of time every year and has gone through some major slumps as a result.
15. Manny Machado — $30,000,000
Manny Machado is no longer the top-notch defensive player he used to be, but he’ll still earn his bread night in and night out with the San Diego Padres. A powerful hitter with a great eye for the ball, Machado has been consistent and efficient throughout his entire career.
He may not be the most popular or beloved player around the league and maybe he does just a little too much talking.
14. Chris Sale — $30,000,000
Not so long ago, Chris Sale was considered one of the top-notch hurlers in MLB. His presence all but guaranteed the Boston Red Sox twenty quality starts per season and one of the most dominant southpaws in recent memory.
Unfortunately, Sale hasn’t been healthy as often as his team need. He’s spent plenty of time on the shelf and struggled to be at his best last season when he was finally cleared to throw. To make things even worst, he’ll start the 2022 season in the 60-day IL.
13. Miguel Cabrera — $32,000,000
Miguel Cabrera has drawn criticism over the past couple of years for having one of the largest MLB contracts of all time. It’s not his fault that the Detroit Tigers made such a huge commitment to him through the backend of his prime, and it’s not like he didn’t earn it.
While Cabrera’s injuries and age have prevented him from producing at an elite level anymore, we’re talking about a Triple Crown winner. He’s one of the greatest sluggers of all time and one of just 28 players to ever hit 500+ home runs, so maybe we should put some respect in his name.
12. David Price — $32,000,000
David Price was once one of the best, most consistent starters in the league. He was a master at forcing misses and would’ve been a massive boost for any contending team’s rotation, which is why the Red Sox signed him to a seven-year, $217,000,000 deal.
But injuries have prevented Price from performing at that level ever since he signed that contract. Now, the Dodgers will pay him over $30 million per year and he’s not even a lock to crack their rotation.
11. Trevor Bauer — $32,000,000
Trevor Bauer is one of the most controversial MLB players of all time. And, to some, he already has one of the worst MLB contracts ever. Fresh off a Cy Young season, he signed a three-year, $102 million deal to boost the Dodgers’ already scary rotation.
He’s now spent 10 months on administrative leave over a sexual assault scandal and even though he won’t face charges, MLB can still suspend him.
10. Francisco Lindor — $32,000,000
People would expect you to be an offensive factor if you had one of the biggest MLB salaries, yet that’s not the case with Francisco Lindor. Albeit one of the best defenders in the Majors, his offense has left a lot to be desired and he’s yet to justify his salary.
Lindor was traded to the New York Mets to kickstart the Steve Cohen era on the right foot. Yet, he was unable to carry the load and help the team make the playoffs.
9. Corey Seager — $32,500,000
Corey Seager shocked the world by leaving the Dodgers to join the ever-struggling Texas Rangers in 2022. But, to be fair, it’s not like he could turn down $32.5 million per year. Also, he’ll be playing for his lifelong friend Chris Woodward, who he knows from his days in L.A.
The Rangers showed big determination to go back to contention right away, committing half a billion dollars to their middle infield in the offseason.
8. Jacob deGrom — $33,500,000
Jacob deGrom has put together a Hall of Famer kind of résumé even despite the New York Mets, and that’s even more impressive. His team rarely, if ever, provides any sort of offensive support, yet his numbers are just like something out of a video game.
deGrom is the best pitcher in the game when he’s on the mound, but that hasn’t happened too often as of late. He’s expected to opt out of his massive contract at the end of this season.
7. Stephen Strasburg — $35,000,000
Stephen Strasburg makes top-dollar despite not being a top-notch pitcher anymore. However, being a World Series MVP, he’s clearly earned that kind of contract with the Washington Nationals. Now, the question is whether he’ll be able to keep up that pace.
Strasburg is expected to miss a chunk of the 2022 season and the Nationals won’t be too good. That could prompt the team to try and get rid of his contract, although it seems unlikely at this point in his career.
6. Nolan Arenado — $35,000,000
While Nolan Arenado‘s numbers took a dip away from Coors Field, he’s still one of the prime offensive players in the league. He’s coming off an impressive season with the overachieving St. Louis Cardinals and will continue to rank among MLB’s leaders in several categories.
On a related note, Arenado is perhaps the most spectacular defender in the league. He’s a walking highlight reel and has made a living showing unprecedented athleticism in his catches.
5. Carlos Correa — $35,100,000
Carlos Correa was one of the most sought-after free agents in this class and for very good reason. He’s an elite defender, a clutch hitter in the playoffs, and a constant threat to steal bases when he’s out there. The only issue with him has been his injury-proneness.
Correa will lead a Minnesota Twins team that has been on the verge of contention for multiple years now. Then again, he can opt out pretty soon, so they better make the most of his presence.
4. Mike Trout — $35,450,000
Mike Trout has been the best player in baseball since he entered the league. He can do it all as both a fielder and a hitter as he’s shown with his three MVP awards. Unfortunately, his production hasn’t translated into playoff success for the Los Angeles Angels.
While his impact is undeniable, Trout is already 30 years old and has missed plenty of time over the past couple of seasons, so that’s a big concern at this point in his career.
3. Anthony Rendon — $36,000,000
The Angels had over $70 million on the Injured List for most of last season. Anthony Rendon was supposed to help them revamp their lineup but spent more time on the shelf than on the field. Now, he’s finally back at full strength and ready to go.
Rendon is a versatile player who can fill in multiple gaps in the infield, be a lead-off hitter, hit for average, power, and contribute to multiple aspects. But still, he’s slightly overpaid until he proves otherwise.
2. Gerrit Cole — $36,000,000
Gerrit Cole earned $181,000 per K in the 2021 Wild Card game. That’s not the kind of production you’d expect from the highest earner in the league when it matters the most.
Cole struggled with injuries and his numbers and spin rate took a huge dip when the league tweaked in on their ‘sticky substance’ policy. Now, he’ll have plenty of pressure on his shoulders as he’ll look to silence his critics once and for all.
1. Max Scherzer — $43,333,333
Max Scherzer is the only player who could get such a huge contract at this point in his career. He’s the highest among the highest-paid MLB players 2022 and he’ll make more money than the Guardians, Pirates, Athletics, and Orioles’ entire payroll.
There’s no doubt that Scherzer is one of the most efficient and consistent pitchers of all time. He’s a lock to rank near the top in ERA, WHIP, and Ks. The only concern is the huge workload he’s endured over the past couple of years, especially at 37 years old.