The average salary of 926 Major League ballplayers in 2009 increased at a five-year-low rate, while nearing the $3 million level, according to a report by Major League Baseball Players Association's on player salaries, released on Monday.
The report stated the average salary of players on big league rosters prior to September rose to $2,996,000 from the 2008 average of $2,930,000.
That increase of less than 2.3 percent is the smallest one-season rise since the average declined, from 2003 to 2004.
The Commissioner's Office will subsequently announce its own salary report, which, due to some variance in the calculation method, normally differs from the union's figures.
Ownership last announced salary figures for Opening Day rosters, citing an average of $3.23 million. Season-opening numbers typically decrease in the course of a season as a consequence of juggling rosters.
The payroll charts, according to the MLBPA survey, were topped by the New York Yankees. The World Series champions' average salary was $7.66 million, the Majors' highest for an 11th straight season.
Five other teams among the top eight in average salary joined the Yankees in the postseason: the Red Sox ($4.58 million), the Cardinals ($4.42 million), the Dodgers ($4.33 million), the Angels ($4.22 million), the Phillies ($4.06 million).
The other two teams in the playoffs were the Rockies, who ranked No. 15 with their average salary of $2.93 million, and the Twins (No. 17 at $2.66 million).
The Pirates trailed with an average salary of $790,000, the lowest for any Major League club since the 2006 Marlins averaged $594,722, while the Padres ($959,000) were the only other team with a sub-$1 million average.
A position-by-position breakdown showed first basemen surpassing designated hitters with an average salary of $7.39 million. DHs averaged $7.34 million, followed by third basemen ($6.46 million), starting pitchers ($4.66 million), outfielders ($4.58 million), shortstops ($4.44 million), second basemen ($4.32 million), catchers ($4.07 million) and relievers ($1.78 million).
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.