Baseball is perhaps the most popular sport in America, and like all other professional sports, is an incredibly lucrative industry. With all the millions that the MLB makes, it's natural to expect that the players are generously paid, given the fact that they're the reason why the MLB has so much viewers in the first place.
MLB athletes put their bodies on the line in pursuit of glory and in order to provide top-tier entertainment to people worldwide, and it's no secret that they make millions of dollars for their efforts, not to mention that they're practically open to scrutiny and criticism 24/7.
With an average salary of $4.17 million, MLB players are making big bank, but the best of the best are much more handsomely paid than that. Teams put millions of dollars on the line to retain the services of the best in the game. These are the highest paid baseball players in 2021.
- Manny Machado - $32 million
Manny Machado momentarily held the record for signing the largest contract signed by a free agent in the history of sports in the United States. In 2019, Machado signed what was then a record-breaking 10-year $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres.
The 28-year-old third baseman is a four-time All-Star and two-time winner of the Gold Glove Award. In 2020, he made the All-MLB First Team and the Silver Slugger Award while finishing third in NL MVP voting.
- David Price - $32 million
Now the Los Angeles Dodgers' starting pitcher, the 35-year-old Price was instrumental in Boston's 2018 World Series Championship. He is a recipient of the Cy Young Award, a five-time All-Star, and has led the MLB in strikeouts once in 2014.
- Justin Verlander - $33 million
Justin Verlander played a huge role in leading the Astros to the 2017 World Series Championship. In 2019, his services for the Astros translated to a record-breaking $66 million two-year contract extension.
Verlander is an eight-time All-Star and a former AL MVP, and has won the Cy Young Award twice in his career. He also made the All-MLB First Team in 2019 while playing for the Astros. Although Verlander is currently sidelined, he's still bound to receive a huge payday this season.
- Max Scherzer - $34.5 million
The Washington Nationals invested in Max Scherzer in 2015, when the Nats signed Scherzer to a 7-year, $210 million deal. It's safe to say that the Nats' bet paid off when Scherzer played a huge role in leading Washington to the 2019 World Series Championship.
Scherzer is a seven-time All-Star who has won the Cy Young Award thrice, led the MLB in wins four times, and led the NL in strikeouts thrice in his career.
- Zack Greinke - $35 million
The other half of Houston's electric pitching duo, Zack Greinke signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015 before he was traded to the Astros in 2019.
The six-time All-Star, six-time Gold Glove Award Winner, and two-time Silver Slugger Awardee has remained stellar with the Astros and has shown that he still has more seasons left in the tank.
- Nolan Arenado - $35 million
Nolan Arenado signed a whopping eight-year, $260 million contract extension with the Colorado Rockies in 2019. He was then included in a blockbuster trade which brought him to the St. Louis Cardinals.
A five-time All-Star, the 30-year-old third baseman has won the Gold Glove Award eight times, the Silver Slugger Award four times, led the NL in home runs thrice, and led the NL in RBI twice.
- Stephen Strasburg - $35 million
Stephen Strasburg was critical in the Washington Nationals' 2019 championship run, and the 2019 World Series MVP capitalized on his sublime postseason for a huge payday. In 2019, the Nats signed Strasburg to a 7-year, $245 million contract.
Strasburg is a three-time All-Star who made the All-MLB First Team in 2019 while leading the NL in wins and has also won the Silver Slugger Award once in 2012.
- Gerrit Cole - $36 million
The three-time All-Star led the MLB in strikeouts, the AL in ERA, and made the All-MLB First Team in 2019.
- Jacob deGrom - $36 million
deGrom is a three-time All-Star and two-time All-MLB First Team who won the NL Cy Young Award twice and led the NL in strikeouts twice and in ERA once.
- Mike Trout - $37.12 million
Perhaps the most recognized name in baseball today, Mike Trout's run with the Los Angeles Angels has been phenomenal to say the least. The Angels signed Trout in 2019 to the first and only $400 million contract in baseball, when Trout signed a 12-year, $426 million extension.
The eight-time All-Star won AL-MVP thrice and made the All-MLB First Team twice in his career. Trout also has eight Silver Slugger Awards under his belt.