America’s favorite past time has been baseball since the creation of the hotdog. Many a fond memory have been made and shared during the seventh inning stretch. Cities have been destroyed by overzealous fans during the coveted World Series. As in any team sport, there is always one person that leads the rest. One person who is considered the leader, the one in charge, the one that fans like to hiss and boo at when things go awry, and by the same token, the one they kiss and applaud and name their children after when they deliver the perfection that is demanded of them. In baseball, that player would be the pitcher. The man that stands in the middle of the field, throwing out his heart, sweat, tears, blood and at times a bit of his soul, in hopes of getting a strike.
If all the stars align and the angels sing, they also hope to win a coveted championship attached to their name, and a no-hitter to go along with it. As with any sport, money drives many decisions concerning personnel and staff. There must be enough money to get the best, and even more money to retain the best. Since starting pitchers are the face of the team, the ones fans recognize, the ones they cheer for, it is no surprise that pitchers make a whole lot more than most of their team mates. On the flip side, it’s them who get the brunt of the blame when they lose, yet they gentlemanly celebrate their wins as a team.
Let’s take a look at the top ten highest-paid pitchers of 2013. Their annual salary is as big as the dreams of their respective fans.
10. Roy Halladay – Philadelphia Phillies: $20,000,000 This Year
Roy Halladay pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies from 2010-2013. since his debut in 1998 with the Toronto blue Jays, the 36-year-old Colorado native has amassed an astonishing 20 shutouts and 2,117 strikeouts. He is an eight-time All-Star and a two time Cy Young Award winner, and he even pitched a perfect game in May of 2010 against the Florida Marlins. His efficiency as a pitcher is due to his incredible two-seam, sinking fastball. His curveball and cut fastball are also a big problem for many batters. Now a free agent, Roy Halladay will likely see his paycheck rise for the 2014 season.
9. Barry Zito – San Fransisco Giants: $20,000,000 This Year
Starting pitcher Barry Zito was born in the glittering town of Las Vegas Nevada. The 35-year-old lefty has been playing since 2000, when he began his career with the Oakland Athletics before moving on to the San Francisco Giants in 2007. He is a two-time World Series Champion, recipient of the Cy Young Award and a three-time All-Star. He doesn’t have the fastest fastball in the world, but his curveball has struck out many a batter.
8. Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers: $20.1 Million This Year
Justin Verlander, born in Virginia in 1983, has been the starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers since 2005. the 30-year-old has accumulated 1,671 strikeouts in his career so far. He is a six-time All-Star, was crowned Rookie of the Year in 2006 and won the Cy Young Award among other accolades and achievements. He has four above-average pitches in his arsenal. His fastball averages 95 mph, his slider slides right by in the mid 80s, his curveball averages an amazing 80 mph and his circular changeup has left many batters in tears. He is paid to perform, and perform, he does.
7. Cole Hamels – Philadelphia Phillies: $20.5 Million This Year
Lefty Cole Hamels is the starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Born in sunny California, this West Coast native has one of the best changeups in the league. His fastball has been clocked in at nearly 96 mph and his curveball is just as deadly. The 29-year-old has been an All-Star three times, won the Babe Ruth Award, is a World Series Champion for 2008 and was voted MVP of that series. He has earned every cent that has been paid to him, and considering his young age and popularity, he can expect his paychecks to increase in the future.
6. Matt Cain – San Fransisco Giants: $20.8 Million This Year
Born in Alabama, Matt Cain entered Major League Baseball in 2005 with the San Francisco Giants and that is exactly where he remains today. The 29-year-old starting pitcher has garnered two World Series Championships, has been an All-star three times, won the Willie Mac Award in 2009 and pitched the first perfect season for the San Francisco Giants in June of 2012 against the Houston Astros. He has 1,436 strikeouts in his career with a win-loss record of 93-88. He and his wicked four-seam fastball are beloved by club and fans alike.
5. Zack Greinke – Los Angeles Dodgers: $21 Million This Year
Zack Greinke is a 30-year-old starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Originally from Orlando, Florida, the 2009 All-Star has pitched for several clubs. He started his career with the Kansas City Royals in 2004, moving on to Milwaukee Brewers in 2011. In 2012 he landed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before being scooped up by the LA Dodgers. His win-loss record is 106-82 and he has managed to strike out 1,480 opponents. He is well compensated for his four and two-seam fastballs, a slicing cutter, a beautiful slider and a devilish changeup.
4. CC Sabathia – New York Yankees : $23 Million This Year
Carsten Charles “CC” Sabathia is a 33-year-old starting pitcher for the New York Yankees. He pitches left-handed, though outside of the diamond he is a righty. This man is a six-time All-Star, a three-time Warren Spahn Award winner, a Cy Young Award winner and a World Series Champion for 2009. He has spent the last 13 years in the MLB, and is considered to be a durable athlete. Sabathia loves his work as much the fans love him, and his paycheck is proof that his team loves him as well.
3. Tim Lincecum – San Fransisco Giants: $22.25 Million This Year
Starting Pitcher for the San Francisco Giants is 29-year-old Tim Linceum. The Washington native throws with his right and prefers to bat with his left. He has over 1,500 strikeouts since he came into the league in 2007. In six short years, he has been part of the winning club for the World Series twice, has earned the Babe Ruth Award and Cy Young Award and has appeared in the All-Star game a total of 4 times. Yes, he is paid well, but with those kinds of statistics, would you expect less?
2. Johan Santana – New York Mets: $24.6 Million This Year
Johan Santana is Venezuelan by birth. He is currently the starting pitcher for the New York Mets. Santana’s career is full of highlights and awards. He is a four-time All-Star and has won the Golden Glove, The Warren Spahn Award and the Cy Young Award, along with various other accolades. He led the Mets to their first no-hitter game in June of 2012. The leftie, has struck out 1,988 opponents and has had 10 career shutouts. The Mets don’t mind giving him his well-earned salary.
1. Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies: $25 Million This Year
Cliff Lee is the starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. He is a four-time All-Star, has won the Cy Young Award, was elected the Comeback Player of the Year and was the ERA leader in 2008. Lee throws with his left hand, has three wicked fastballs: the cutter, four-seam, and two-seam. His pitching also includes curveballs, sliders, and changeups. He has clocked 1,752 strikeouts plus 12 shutout games. All these elements combine to make a pitcher who is worth the highest contract of any MLB pitcher this year.