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 3 million for 2019.
However, payrolls rose by 31 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 .195 billion in guarantees beyond 2019, breaking the previous mark for out-year commitments of .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 1.8 million, the Chicago Cubs .3 million and the New York Yankees just under million. Figures will fluctuate during the season because of roster moves.