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Opening Day Fever: Harper, Trout Ready To Get MLB Season Started After Signing Record-Breaking Contracts

Opening Day Fever: Harper, Trout Ready To Get MLB Season Started After Signing Record-Breaking Contracts

As all 30 Major League Baseball teams swing into action Thursday on a particularly early Opening Day, the game’s long-term financial outlook seems to be just fine, judging by what teams are willing to pay to lock in their biggest stars.

Several teams signed eye-popping player contracts this year, including the deal the Los Angeles Angels reached with outfielder Mike Trout — unquestionably one of the game’s best — who signed a 12-year contract extension worth more than $430 million.

The amount is the highest in all U.S. professional sports. In the three weeks before Trout signed, the record for biggest long-term deal was held by outfielder Bryce Harper, who moved from the Washington Nationals to the Philadelphia Phillies over the offseason in a deal that will pay him $330 million, a record for a free agent signing.

The previous record for the biggest contract by a free agent in American sports was set just a few weeks before that when third baseman Manny Machado signed a $300-million, 10-year deal with the San Diego Padres.

The three high profile signings broke a previous record that was more than a decade old: a $275-million contract signed by now-retired slugger Alex Rodriguez back in 2007.

Breaking Down The Numbers

So are Machado, Harper, Trout and a few others that signed big deals this year breaking the MLB bank?

Not even close.

While the total payout numbers are jarring, they’re less so in perspective.

Many of the blockbuster deals are big because they’re long — a decade or more — and aren’t records for annual pay.

Harper’s, for example, works out to just a bit over $25 million a year. That means he’s paid far less per year than his former Nationals teammate, pitcher Max Scherzer, who will have the highest annual salary in baseball this year at $42 million, according to a report by USA Today.

Scherzer will also make more on an annual basis than Trout, whose deal brings him about $35 million a year.

And the salaries remain a small fraction of what baseball teams are raking in.

Baseball revenue in the last couple years has been about $10 billion a year, a number that has roughly doubled in a decade, NBC Sports reported recently.

That means Trout’s annualized income comes in at just about one-third of 1 percent of the sport’s revenue.

Total baseball revenue breaks out to just over $300 million per team each year, which means a $300-million or $400-million deal over more than a decade could be seen as a pretty good bargain.

8 More Things To Know On Opening Day

  1. The New York Yankees were the most valuable franchise in baseball last year, with an estimated worth of $4 billion.
  2. That $10 billion in revenue MLB brings in each year is second among American sports, behind the NFL, which makes about $14 billion annually.
  3. The Angels’ long-term obligation to Trout tops what the Golden State Warriors owe the highest-paid NBA player, Steph Curry, though Curry makes more than $40 million a year on a shorter contract.
  4. Mike Trout’s eventual payout from the Angels is more than the value of the most valuable Major League Soccer club, Atlanta United, which is valued at $330 million.
  5. Salaries are being split among a larger pool of players. Nearly 1,400 players made a Major League appearance last year. The number has increased each of the last six years.
  6. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will play the first-ever MLB games in Europe this season, hooking up June 29-30 in London.
  7. This may be the last Opening Day without a player born in the 2000s. Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who is likely to be the youngest player to start on Thursday, was born in 1999. Next year, one wonders if a player born in 2000 might be on an Opening Day roster.
  8. @MLB is stepping up its game on Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR). The league will tweet highlights of every home run, along with other almost real-time video highlights from every game.

Related Links:

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Posted-In: Bryce Harper Major LEague Baseball Mike TroutNews Sports Events Top Stories General Best of Benzinga


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