Five years ago, there were only four players in Major League Baseball pocketing $20 million a year in salary. What was predominantly considered a Yankees' high-rollers club is slowly becoming the starting point for contract negotiations for the elite. According to Forbes, there are 22 players from 11 different clubs that will earn at least $20 million in 2014. The list of highest paid baseball players this season is determined in terms of cash received from salary and endorsements.
But baseball isn't the only sport where nine-figure salaries are becoming the norm for today's best athletes. NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently signed a five-year, $110 million contract with the Green Bay Packers while Baltimore Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco signed a six-year, $120.6 million contract shortly after. Even though Rodgers and Flacco are the highest paid players in the National Football League, in baseball, they would only have a chance to make the top 10 highest paid list off extra endorsement cash.
Now that Spring Training is over, owners and managers are facing the 11th hour of any remaining contract negotiations before the focus shifts to the 2014 regular season. With talks of arbitration and contract disputes in full swing, these 10 players can open the season comfortably knowing their money is accounted for. Unfortunately, for players like Detroit's Max Scherzer and Boston's Jon Lester, talks of negotiation will have to be tabled for the time being. Now that Opening Week is here, let's take a look at Forbes' list of the top 10 highest paid players of the 2014 Major League Baseball season.
10 CC Sabathia, New York Yankees - $23.4 million
9 Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees - $23.5 million
8 Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers - $24 million
7 Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers - $24.05 million
6 Prince Fielder, Texas Rangers - $24.4 million
5 Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners - $24.5 million
4 Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels - $24.8 million
3 Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins - $25 million
2 Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies - $25.2 million
1 Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies - $25.7 million
Ryan Howard was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2001 MLB Draft and has been a franchise cornerstone since his debut in 2004. Entering the third year of his five-year, $125 million contract, Howard will pocket $25 million from his salary with $700,000 coming in from endorsements. The southpaw first baseman has missed a significant amount of time over the last two seasons due to leg complications and will be looking to perform for the Phillies all the way through September. With the third highest payroll in Major League Baseball, it's no wonder Philadelphia has the two highest paid players on their roster in 2014.
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