MLB Stars Set Earnings Records Despite Limited Endorsements

    • MLB players reached new earning heights after record free agent spending.
    • The league's stars make relatively little in endorsements.

A historic free-agent class reshuffled the list of Major League Baseball’s top earners.

Max Scherzer topped Forbes’ annual list with $59.3 million in total earnings. Mad Max set the MLB record for highest average annual value ($43.3M) on his three-year, $130 million deal with the New York Mets. 

Scherzer will also receive $15 million each year through 2028 from his contract with the Washington Nationals, signed before the 2015 season.

  • Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels ranked second with $39 million in earnings. Trout holds the record for the sport’s largest overall contract with his 12-year, $426.5 million deal. 
  • Corey Seager — who will make $37.5 million in the first year of his 10-year, $325 million deal with the Texas Rangers, plus an additional $1 million off the field — is third.

Salaries and Little More

MLB players earn relatively little off the field compared to stars of other sports. Bryce Harper, ninth in total earnings with $32.5 million, is set to bring in $6.5 million in endorsement deals that include Under Armour, Gatorade, and Dairy Queen.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, by comparison, earned $22 million off the field last year.

Shohei Ohtani was the top off-field earner last year with $6 million. Ohtani, who has yet to taste free agency, will make $4.3 million from his salary with the Angels.