The Los Angeles Dodgers set a baseball record with a $270 million opening-day payroll, including nearly $44 million going to players no longer on the team.
Major League Baseball’s average salary on opening day Sunday also set a mark at $4.2 million, according to calculations by the Associated Press. That is up 6.3 percent from last year’s opening average of $3.95 million and is a 15 percent rise over two years.
“It’s a shocking number for the average family to think about,” Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “But overall it’s a good thing. It’s a reflection of the health of the sport.”
The Dodgers’ payroll, up from $234 million at the start of last season, includes $43.8 million for 2015 to cover the costs of Brian Wilson and Dustin McGowan, who were released; Matt Kemp, Dan Haren and Dee Gordon, who were traded; and Chad Billingsley, who was owed a buyout when his option was declined.
“The Dodgers’ ownership and the front office have done a great job of collecting players, and they’ve shown that they’re willing to spend money for what it takes to win and what they deem is the best team,” Los Angeles catcher A.J. Ellis said.
The New York Yankees, whose 15-year streak as the top spender was stopped by the Dodgers last year, are second at $219 million, followed by Boston ($175 million), World Series champion San Francisco ($173.2 million) and Detroit ($172.8 million).
Washington was sixth at $166 million – more than $100 million less the Dodgers.
At the bottom are Houston ($69.1 million) and Miami ($69.2 million).
Among the major North American leagues, the NBA has the highest average salary at $5 million this season, according to its players’ union.
Porcello gets deal
Before he even made his first start for the Boston Red Sox, Rick Porcello decided he wanted to stay.
The 26-year-old right-hander, who was acquired from Detroit in December and is scheduled to make his Red Sox debut on Wednesday, agreed to a four-year, $82.5 million contract with Boston that runs from 2016-19. The deal was announced hours after the team opened the season with an 8-0 victory over Philadelphia.
Clearing the bases
The Marlins’ season opener against the Braves was halted for 16 minutes because of rain – a first at 3-year-old Marlins Park, which has a retractable roof. Marlins president David Samson took the blame, saying he was monitoring the weather on his cell phone and didn’t expect rain. … A record 115 major league players are starting the season on the disabled list. Oakland and Texas started with eight players each on the DL. … MLB’s average ticket price rose 3.3 percent this season to $28.94, the steepest increase in six years. Boston had the highest average at $52.34. … Nationals Park will host baseball’s 2018 All-Star Game, the fourth consecutive year that event will be in an N.L. city.
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