Do Baseball Players Make Too Much Money?

It is often criticized that Major League Baseball players, or athletes in general, make too much money. Is this true?

Clayton-KershawIn the average sports fans mind it probably is, but that’s coming from the scope of a person that makes, on average, $51K annually, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Considering the average MLB player’s salary in 2013 was $3.39MM, up 5.4% from 2012, there is quite a difference between these two figures.

However, baseball players inherent certain risks that the average Joe doesn’t traveling to and from his everyday job. A baseball player can get injured at any moment, and if an injury ends that player’s career then his ability to bring in an income to support his family instantly comes to a halt.

Although even the minimum salary a MLB player can be paid is still a whopping $500,000 for the 2014 season, there is no guarantee these players will stay in the big leagues. In the instance that they don’t, they wont get paid virtually anything as minor leaguers, either.

According to, minor league players earn a maximum of $1,100 a month in their first year with $25 a day included for meals.

NuYmS.St.84So think of it this way, professional baseball players live under the poverty line throughout their stint in the minor leagues, and if they’re lucky enough to be part of the 3% of minor leaguers (source) that make it to the pros they THEN have to prove themselves yet again.

If a player is able to prove themselves at the major league level, they THEN have to sustain their performance long enough to stay in the pros and to get a worthwhile contract. Providing that the player remains healthy, he must make enough money in his stint in the majors to support himself and his family for the rest of his life.

This isn’t to say professional athletes don’t get jobs after their playing careers are over, but they generally do not have college degrees to use to their advantage since the vast majority of players are drafted either in college or right out of high school.

Do you still think major league baseball players make too much money? Possibly, but I think that anyone would think that players making $20MM+ annually is a little ridiculous compared to what we are making, which is chicken scratch compared to that.

Matt Stein is a season-credentialed media member covering the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also assisting with coverage of USF Athletics. He attended the University of Tampa and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Sport Management.