NEW YORK (AP) — Big deals for Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and others that included large signing bonuses masked an otherwise flat market for the second straight offseason that caused Major League Baseball’s opening-day payrolls to drop by $43 million for 2019.
However, payrolls rose by $131 million when using the averages of multiyear contracts. Following a winter in which many journeymen took cuts, a string of stars signed huge long-term deals during March and April.
Since the end of last season, teams agreed to a record $4.195 billion in guarantees beyond 2019, breaking the previous mark for out-year commitments of $3.414 billion set following the 2013 season, according to figures compiled by the commissioner’s office and obtained by The Associated Press.
Just three teams are on track to pay a luxury tax. World Series champion Boston projects to owe $11.8 million, the Chicago Cubs $5.3 million and the New York Yankees just under $4 million. Figures will fluctuate during the season because of roster moves.