USA Today has compiled the Opening Day payrolls for all 30 teams and to the surprise of no one the Yankees lead the way by a wide margin, as their $202 million payroll is $30 million higher than the second-ranked Phillies and $40 million more than the next-closest AL team, the Red Sox.
Those three teams have the only payrolls above $150 million, but at the opposite end of the spectrum the Royals, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Indians, and Padres are each under $50 million in total salaries.
MLB’s lowest payroll belongs to the Royals at $36 million, which is just 18 percent of the Yankees’ total and only slightly more than the $31 million New York will be paying Alex Rodriguez alone this season. The average Royals player makes $1.3 million, while the average Yankees player makes $6.8 million.
Add it all up and the average Opening Day payroll is $92.8 million. To put that into some context, consider that in 2000 the Yankees had MLB’s highest payroll at $92.9 million.
CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.
Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”
The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”
Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.