Top 10 MLB Payrolls Heading into the 2024 MLB Season by 26-Man Roster

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

The baseball world was shocked by the massive contracts doled out by the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2023-24 MLB Hot Stove season. Between contracts for megastar Shohei Ohtani, Japanese pitching sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and free agent slugger Teoscar Hernandez, Los Angeles shelled out well over $1 billion in guaranteed money. Thanks to some questionable contract structuring, the Dodgers’ payroll per 26-man roster didn’t even make it in the Top 5 of MLB payrolls. Many other heavy-hitters, like the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, and New York Yankees, already have a significant amount of payroll tied to the 2024 MLB season. 

Who else makes up the Top 10 of MLB payroll on the 26-man roster? Here’s a look at the Top 10 MLB payrolls by 26-man roster heading into the 2024 MLB season.

10. Toronto Blue Jays

2023 Record & Finish: 99-63, 2nd AL East, Lost AL WCS (2-0 to MIN)

2024 26-man Payroll: $150,054,284.00

2024 Largest AAV Player: RF George Springer- $24,166,166.00

The Toronto Blue Jays were oh so close to making a major splash during the early part of the 2023-24 MLB free agency cycle. Toronto was “in it” for the services of Ohtani right until the very end showing the club’s willingness to spend some big dollars. The Jays’ biggest dollar contracts are tied up in Springer and pitchers Chris Bassitt ($22MM) and Kevin Gausman ($24MM), both of whom become free agents after the 2026 season.

9. Chicago Cubs

2023 Record & Finish: 83-79, 2nd NL Central, Did Not Make Postseason

2024 26-Man Payroll: $150,935,000.00

2024 Largest AAV Player: SS Dansby Swanson- $26,000,000.00

Swanson is Chicago’s largest dollar and year commitment heading into 2024. The Cubs are tied to the Gold Glove shortstop through the 2029 season after signing him to a 7-year/$177MM contract prior to the 2023 MLB regular season. Chicago’s next two most expensive contracts belong to LF Ian Happ ($21MM) and SP Seiya Suzuki ($21MM), both of whom become free agents after the 2026 season.

NOTE: This does not include SP Shota Imanaga who has agreed to a contract with the Cubs!

8. St. Louis Cardinals

2023 Record and Finish: 71-91, 5th NL Central, Did Not Make Postseason

2024 26-Man Payroll: $155,166,667.00

2024 Largest AAV Player: 1B Paul Goldschmidt- $26,000,000.00

The 2023 season was a massive disappointment for the Cardinals that saw the perennial postseason team become “sellers” at the 2023 MLB trade deadline, a rarity for a Top 10 MLB payroll ball club. St. Louis has $68MM tied up in three infielders who aren’t getting any younger —Goldschmidt (36), 3B Nolan Arenando (33), and C Willson Contreras (32). Arenado is set to make $24MM and Contreras is set to make $18MM.

7. Los Angeles Dodgers

2023 Record & Finish: 100-62, 1st NL West, Lost NLDS (3-0 to ARZ)

2024 26-Man Payroll: $175,396,666.00

2024 Largest AAV Player: 2B Mookie Betts- $30,000,000.00

Los Angeles is 7th on this list thanks to the aforementioned deferral-based contracts for Hernandez and Ohtani, respectively. Give the Dodgers’ front office credit for going to Bobby Bo route to skirt Major League Baseball’s competitive balance tax make room for some potential big money additions in the future. 1B Freddie Freeman ($27MM) and recently acquired SP Tyler Glasnow ($17.5MM) make up the Dodgers’ top three paid players behind Betts.

6. Atlanta Braves

2023 Record & Finish: 104-58, 1st NL East, Lost NLDS (3-1 to PHI)

2024 26-Man Payroll: $181,250,000

2024 Largest AAV Player: 1B Matt Olson- $22,000,000.00

Considering the way the Atlanta Braves conduct business —i.e.: signing young players to team friendly contracts such as Ronald Acuna’s 8-year/$100MM contract— their ranking this high is rather surprising. Olson’s contract is similar, he’s locked in at $22MM until 2030. That’s a steal! 3B Austin Riley ($21MM) and SP Charlie Morton ($20MM) round out the Braves’ top three salaries on the 26-man roster.

5. New York Mets

2023 Record & Finish: 75-87, 3rd NL East, Did Not Make Postseason

2024 26-Man Payroll: $184,250,000.00

2024 Largest AAV Player: SS Francisco Lindor- $34,100,000.00

The New York Mets are paying a lot of money to be the laughingstock of the National League. The Mets are paying Lindor his $34MM, while OF Sterling Marte ($20.75MM) and OF Brandon Nimmo ($20.5 MM) round out the Mets’ top three salaries on the 26-man roster, respectively.  The Mets’ 2023 was so bad, they shipped off pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander and absorbed half of their salaries. The Mets are on the hook for nearly $28MM for each in 2024.

4. New York Yankees

2023 Record & Finish: 82-80, 3rd AL East, Did Not Make Postseason

2024 26-Man Payroll: $191,273,333.00

2024 Largest AAV Player: RF Aaron Judge- $40,000,000.00

The New York Yankees are likely to climb on this list one Juan Soto’s contract is agreed to. The newly acquired slugger is expected to receive around $33M in 2o24. That would give the Bronx Bombers four players over $30MM in AAV including Judge, OF Giancarlo Stanton ($32MM) and SP Gerrit Cole ($36MM).

3. Houston Astros

2023 Record & Finish: 90-72, 1st AL West, Lost ALCS (4-3 to TEX)

2024 26-Man Payroll: 193,918,141.00

2024 Largest AAV Player: 3B Alex Bergman- $30,500,000.00

The Astros coming in at No. 3 this early in the year is rather telling. Houston, a club coming off another run to the ALCS, has been willing to spend big money to keep their current window of success open. Bergman, 30, is in the last year of a 5-year/$100MM contract with Houston and there’s a chance he could be moved at the 2024 MLB trade deadline. 2B Jose Altuve ($29MM) and SP Justin Verlander ($22.5+MM) round out the top three 26-man salaries for Houston. Verlander’s 2024 salary is $43.3MM, however as stated above, the Mets are paying a substantial amount for 2o24.

2. Texas Rangers

2023 Record & Finish: 90-72, 2nd AL West, Won World Series (4-1 over ARZ)

2024 26-Man Payroll: $198,150,00.00

2024 Largest AAV Player: SP Jacob deGrom- $40,000,000.00

The defending World Champions were certainly willing to spend their way to the first title in franchise history. The Rangers have serious payroll considerations tied to four players: deGrom, SP Max Scherzer, SS Corey Seager, and 2B Marcus Semien. The quartet makes up nearly $125MM of the Rangers’ payroll heading into 2024. Like Verlander, Scherzer’s contract is valued at $43.33MM with the New York Mets paying half. The state of Texas’ TV deal is something to keep an eye on when it comes to the Rangers willingness to spend in 2024 and beyond.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

2023 Record & Finish: 90-72, 2nd NL East, Lost NLCS (4-3 to ARZ)

2024 26-Man Payroll: $222,092,617.00

2024 Largest AAV Player: 1B Bryce Harper- $27,538,462.00

Well, the Philadelphia Phillies have won something … at least for now! The club’s willingness to spend money in attempt to bring a title back to South Philadelphia will likely keep them entrenched in the top five. Like the Rangers, the Phillies have a quintet of players making up the majority of their salary including Harper, SP Aaron Nola ($24.5MM), C J.T. Realmuto ($23.8MM), SS Trea Turner ($27.2MM), and SP Zack Wheeler ($23.5MM). The Phillies are expected to be aggressive for the foreseeable future.

Note: All MLB contract numbers were sourced from Spotrac. These figures will change during the 2024 arbitration process. This list will be updated prior to the start of the 2024 MLB regular season.

Arrow to top