NEW YORK (AP) - Major League Baseball teams cut payrolls by $47 million from opening day in 2008 to the first day of this season, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
That was a drop of 1.7 percent, the first drop since 2004 and just the second since the 1994-95 strike.
"Clubs were cautious all winter with regards to the economy and were concerned the economy might have an impact on club revenue," said Bob DuPuy, MLB's chief operating officer. "The spending reflected that for many clubs."
Looking at payroll team by team, 16 of the 30 clubs cut payroll. Among those who lowered spending - the mighty New York Yankees.
While the Yankees led the major leagues with a $201.4 million payroll, they trimmed salaries by $7.6 million from the start of last season. The difference is that while they added high-priced free agents CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira, they also let Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu and Carl Pavano leave, watched Mike Mussina retire and more than halved pitcher Andy Pettitte's guaranteed pay.
Others cut more, led by San Diego ($30.9 million), the Chicago White Sox ($25.1 million), Detroit ($23.6 million) and Seattle ($19.1 million).
The 14 who increased salaries were led by American League champion Tampa Bay ($19.5 million), the Chicago Cubs ($16.5 million), Florida ($15.0 million), and World Series champion Philadelphia ($14.7 million).
While the 10 highest spenders lowered payroll by an average of $7.8 million, the 10 lowest raised spending by an average of $4.5 million, a small step toward commissioner Bud Selig's goal of closing the gap between rich and poor teams.
On the highest payroll list, the Yankees were followed by the crosstown rival Mets at $135.7 million. Both teams move into revenue-boosting new ballparks this season.
The Cubs are third at $135.1 million, followed by Boston ($123 million), Detroit ($115 million), the Los Angeles Angels ($113.7 million) and Philadelphia ($113 million).
The lowest spenders are Florida ($37 million), San Diego ($43 million) and Pittsburgh ($49 million).
While overall payroll was down, the average player salary was up 2.7 percent to $3.24 million. That's because there are fewer players in the major leagues getting checks right now.
Just 69 players started the season on disabled lists, down from 106 last year. With fewer injured players, teams have called up fewer low-paid minor leaguers to replace them.
Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, on the disabled list following hip surgery, is the game's highest-paid player with a $33 million salary, topping MLB for the ninth straight year. The Dodgers' Manny Ramirez was second at $23.9 million, followed by Yankees teammates Derek Jeter ($21.6 million) and Mark Teixeira ($20.6 million).
A majority of players, 433 of 818, make at least $1 million, one fewer than last year's record. A record 86 were at $10 million or more, an increase of one.
Fifty-eight players are at the $400,000 minimum this year. The median salary rose $150,000 to a record $1.15 million.
The average salary decreases throughout the season as veterans are released and replaced by younger players. It finished last season at $2,925,679, according to the players' association, and $2,836,205, according to Major League Baseball. The figures vary because of different methods of calculation.
The leading 2009 salaries of Major League Baseball players on opening day rosters and disabled lists. Figures were obtained by The Associated Press from management and player sources and include salaries and pro-rated shares of signing bonuses and other guaranteed income. For some players, parts of salaries that are deferred are discounted to reflect present-day values.
1, Alex Rodriguez, NYY $33,000,000
2, Manny Ramirez, LAD 23,854,494
3, Derek Jeter, NYY 21,600,000
4, Mark Teixeira, NYY 20,625,000
5, Carlos Beltran, NYM 19,243,683
6, Carlos Lee, Hou 19,000,000
7, Magglio Ordonez, Det 18,971,596
8, Johan Santana, NYM 18,876,139
9, Carlos Zambrano, Cubs 18,750,000
10, Barry Zito, SF 18,500,000
11, Torii Hunter, LAA 18,000,000
(tie) Ichiro Suzuki, Sea 18,000,000
13, Alfonso Soriano, Cubs 17,000,000
14, Aramis Ramirez, Cubs 16,900,000
15, Todd Helton, Col 16,600,000
16, A.J. Burnett, NYY 16,500,000
17, Tim Hudson, Atl 15,500,000
18, CC Sabathia, NYY 15,285,714
19, Jason Schmidt, LAD 15,217,401
20, Vladimir Guerrero, LAA 15,000,000
(tie) Ryan Howard, Phi 15,000,000
(tie) Derek Lowe, Atl 15,000,000
(tie) Mariano Rivera, NYY 15,000,000
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
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