In its annual survey of Major League Baseball salaries, USA Today reported Monday that 14 of the 30 clubs have a lower payroll on Opening Day this year than in 2008. The publication has compiled the salary survey since 1988, using information from Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and individual clubs. The report noted that 10 of the 14 teams that reduced their payrolls did so by at least $10 million.
"That is an amazing number," Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told the newspaper. "This isn't just the baseball economy. But the owners who subsidized losses for their team with their businesses don't have businesses as profitable anymore." According to the survey, the average player salary increased 4 percent to $3.26 million. In terms of team payroll, the Yankees still lead the Majors with a $201.4 million total. But despite their vast offseason expenditures on the free-agent market, the survey results showed their payroll is down $8 million from a year ago. The Yankees are followed by the Mets ($149.3 million), Cubs ($134.8 million) and Red Sox ($121.7 million), who lowered their payroll by $12 million from last year's Opening Day mark, according to the survey. The survey said the Cubs increased their payroll by $16.5 million to the largest in franchise history, and that the defending World Series champion Phillies increased their payroll by more than $3 million. Meanwhile, the report noted the Padres as having cut their payroll by $20 million between last Opening Day to this one.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.