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
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
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
4 CC Sabathia - New York Yankees : $23 Million This Year
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
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.