NEW YORK (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers set a record with an opening-day payroll of $234 million Sunday, according to a study of big league contracts by The Associated Press.
The New York Yankees were a distant second at $199 million, ending their streak of six straight openers above the $200 million mark. The Yankees had topped the opening-day salary list for 15 straight years and had set the previous mark of $230 million last season.
The Dodgers spent more than five times the total of the Houston Astros, who at $45 million were last for the second straight year but vastly above their $27 million outlay on opening day last season. Miami, at $47 million, repeated in 29th place.
"I think we've all noticed," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said of the Dodgers' spending splurge. "We can't get caught into it. I've always preached this to the players: There's no point in looking at what other clubs are doing or who they have, their assets, this and that. It's what you believe in yourself and your focus always has to be on your club."
Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke ended Alex Rodriguez's 13-year streak as the highest-paid player, earning $28 million, including a prorated share of his signing bonus. He's followed by Philadelphia's Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee at $25 million each, the Yankees' CC Sabathia at $24.3 million, and Seattle's Robinson Cano and Texas' Prince Fielder at $24 million apiece.
The average salary was $3.95 million for the 853 players on opening-day rosters and disabled lists, plus two players serving suspensions who earn part of their salaries. That was up 8.2 percent from last year's opening average of $3.65 million, the steepest increase since 2006. More than half the players — 486 — earn $1 million or more.
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