Highest Paid Baseball Players of 2021

Professional baseball players are earning more in 2021-22 than ever before. In February, the top free-agent pitcher of the year, Trevor Bauer chose the Los Angeles Dodgers for an unprecedented deal worth $102 million over the next three seasons.

The contract not only makes Bauer the highest-paid player this year but sets a record for highest single-year salary in baseball history.

Pitchers are a hot commodity in the MLB world, making up seven of the top 10 slots in revenue.

According to MLB.com, take a look at the top 10 players based on 2021 salary.

10 Zack Greinke: $32.9 Million

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Verlander’s peer, Greinke has a six-year contract with the Houston Astros, also set to expire after the 2021 season. The pitcher filled in for Verlander’s absence with impressive performance with MLB’s sixth best FIP at 2.80.

According to Baseball-Almanac, while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers, the right-handed pitcher was only the third in franchise history to record a 200-strikeout season.

Regardless of an abbreviated 2020 season and various injuries, these players are ready to take on a new 2021 season and make MLB history.

9 Justin Verlander: $33 Million

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In 2019, Verlander signed a two-year extension contract with the Houston Astros for $66 million through 2021. Battling injury with just one start in 2020, Verlander underwent Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss the entire 2021 season.

However, according to CBS, the pitcher has resumed throwing and progressing well in recovery. He’s expressed interest in continuing his career after healing from the injury.

8 Manny Machado: $34 Million

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At one time, Machado held the largest contract in history for $300 million through 2028 until Bryce Harper surpassed him for $330 million. Machado had a slow start with San Diego in 2019 but came back with 16 home runs and was a candidate for the NL MVP Award in 2020.

7 Max Scherzer: $34.5 Million

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Scherzer took the World Series title with the Nationals in 2019 under a contract with Washington for a total $210 million through 2021. If he and the Nationals don’t extend the deal, he’ll be a free agent after this season. Even in the abbreviated 2020 season, he accumulated 92 strikeouts in 67 innings.

Scherzer is expected to be the Opening Day starter, his sixth time in seven seasons with Washington.

6 Stephen Strasburg: $35 Million

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Strasburg signed a seven-year contract for a total of $245 million with Washington. Plagued with injuries over the past year, Strasburg has been diagnosed with carpal tunnel neuritis, leading to surgery in 2020 and then a calf injury. It’s rumored he’ll be able to play at the start of the season.

5 Nolan Arenado: $35 Million

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Signing with the St. Louis Cardinals for a total of $260 million through 2026, plus one additional year for $15 million (2027), Arenado had an exciting year. The contract contains opt-outs after 2022; a reminder of his nine-year contract in Colorado, wanting out after just three years in. His previous team reportedly paid $50 million to the Cardinals as part of their trade for Austin Gomber and four Minor League players.

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4 Gerrit Cole: $36 Million

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Cole has negotiated the largest long-term contract in pitcher history with a total of $324 million paid through 2028 with the New York Yankees.

While playing for the Houston Astros, Cole became the 18th pitcher in major league history to strike out at least 300 batters in one season, according to NBC Sports.

3 Jacob deGrom: $36 Million

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Despite minor neck and back injuries, deGrom was able to increase his fastball velocity to the triple digits. He’s received two NL Cy Young Awards and led Senior Circuit with 104 strikeouts. His total contract with the New York Mets is $137.5 million through 2023.

2 Mike Trout: $37.1 Million

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The Los Angeles Angels gave Trout the first and only $400 million contract in baseball history. Prior to the 2019 season, Trout extended his current contract with the Angels and in the first two years, was awarded the AL MVP Award and top-five finish in 2020.

In fact, he’s finished top-five in all nine full seasons, making him 52nd of all time position player.

1 Trevor Bauer: $40 Million

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Bauer had his best season yet in 2020, after posting a 1.73 ERA and 100-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 73 innings. He received the National League Cy Young Award and took the Cincinnati Reds to the playoffs after throwing eight innings of one-run ball and 12 strikeouts.

This year, he became a free agent and best available starting pitcher, negotiating a $102 million deal over three years with the Dodgers.

READ NEXT: Toronto Blue Jays Sign George Springer To Six-Year, $150 Million Contract

Sources: MLB.com, NBC Sports, CBS

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