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Dodgers' $234 million payroll sets record

The SportsXchange

The Los Angeles Dodgers set a major-league record with an Opening-Day payroll of $234 million on Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

A distant second to the Dodgers were the New York Yankees at $199 million. That snapped a six-year streak above the $200 million mark. It also ended a 15-year run as the team with the highest payroll. The previous record for highest Opening-Day payroll was the Yankees doling out $230 last year.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Houston Astros' $45 million payroll was the league's lowest for the second straight season. Just above them at $47 million were the Miami Marlins, also for the second straight year.

"I think we've all noticed," San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the Dodgers' spending habits. "We can't get caught into it. I've always preached this to the players: There's no point in looking at what other clubs are doing or who they have, their assets, this and that. It's what you believe in yourself and your focus always has to be on your club."

Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke is the highest-paid player with a $28 million salary for this season. That ended Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez's 13-year run. Next is Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Phillies lefty Cliff Lee at $25 million each. Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia earns $24.3 million, and Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano and Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder tied for fifth at $24 million apiece.

Among the 853 players on Opening-Day rosters and disabled lists -- as well as two suspended players -- the average salary was $3.95 million. Last year's average salary to start the season was $3.65 million per player. This year's 8.2 percent increase was the highest hike since 2006.

The coming years include huge salaries for Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Cabrera will make $292 million over the next 10 years after signing an eight-year extension last week. Trout's six-year, $144.5 million deal takes effect next season.

Figures in the AP study do not include players who started the season in the minor leagues, including Atlanta Braves pitcher Ervin Santana ($14.1 million) and Dodgers second baseman Alex Guerrero ($6.5 million).
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