MLB average salary up 5.4 percent to $3.39 million

While the New York Yankees set another salary record, the

Houston Astros had the lowest average in the major leagues in 14

years and the attention of the players’ union.

The overall big league average rose 5.4 percent this season to a

record $3.39 million, according to the annual report released

Wednesday by the Major League Baseball Players Association. The

increase was the steepest since 2006.

In the economy at large, civilian compensation is increasing at

an annual rate of 1.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of

Labor Statistics. The average U.S. wage in 2012 was $42,498,

according to the Social Security Administration.

The Yankees had the highest average for the 15th consecutive

season at $8.17 million, breaking the mark of $7.66 million when

they won the World Series in 2009. The Los Angeles Dodgers were

second at $7.82 million.

Houston’s average of $549,603 was the smallest since the 1999

Kansas City Royals at $534,460. The Miami Marlins were 29th at

$830,069, down from $3.77 million in 2012, when they ranked

10th.

Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement requires a team to

use revenue-sharing money it receives ”in an effort to improve its

performance on the field.” The Marlins had been required to raise

player payroll annually from 2010-12 under an agreement between MLB

and the union.

However, the issue is being dealt with under a provision in the

collective bargaining agreement that gradually eliminates the 15

teams in the largest markets from receiving revenue sharing, and

the Astros are 15th. Under that provision, those clubs forfeited 25

percent of the money this year, half in 2014, 75 percent the

following year and all in 2016.

”We are watching both clubs closely, but were already aware

what their 2013 spending would be and that there wasn’t enough

there to move beyond acknowledging as much,” new union head Tony

Clark said in an email to The Associated Press. ”With Houston a

big factor is their impending `market disqualification.’ For Miami,

they actually have a long-range plan that suggests they will make

the considerations necessary to be compliant.

”That said, both clubs are being monitored, and MLB recognizes

that there is a potential for a dispute if the clubs do not move in

the right direction.”

World Series champion Boston was fourth at $5.46 million, just

behind Detroit at $5.53 million. St. Louis, which won the NL

pennant, was 10th at $3.75 million.

Tampa Bay had the lowest ranking among the 10 playoff teams and

was 24th at $2.13 million.

Among regulars at positions, designated hitters took over from

first basemen for the highest average at $10.5 million. First

basemen were next at $6.5 million, followed by starting pitchers at

$6.3 million, second basemen at $5.8 million, outfielders at $5.6

million, third basemen at $5.2 million, shortstops at $4.5 million,

catchers at $4.4 million and relief pitchers at $2.2 million,

Figures are based on Aug. 31 rosters and disabled lists, with

940 players averaging $3,386,212. Major League Baseball, which uses

slightly different methods, calculated its average at $3,320,089,

an increase of 6.9 percent.