Who are the highest-paid pitchers in MLB? Where Ohtani, Scherzer rank in 2024

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There has never been a higher premium for pitching.

Four of the top five highest-paid players in the MLB are pitchers (the other being the Yankees' Aaron Judge), and their salaries are only expected to increase in the years to come.

Here is a look at the wealthiest players on the mound:

Who are the highest-paid starting pitchers?

In an era when teams are happy a starting pitcher can make it through six innings, a top-of-the-line starter who can give strong and deep starts comes at a steep price.

Here are the 10 highest-paid starters in MLB:

  1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Dodgers, $700 million over 10 years (kinda sorta): As you probably know, Ohtani's contract comes with a few disclaimers. First, he is also an elite hitter, along with being a great pitcher, so he understandably blows everyone else out of the water. And then there is the other disclaimer. Ohtani's contract defers $680 million of his megadeal until after his playing term is over. So, Ohtani will actually be paid $2 million per year by the Dodgers over the next 10 years. Technically Ohtani gets paid less than the run-of-the-mill reliever, but $700 million is too big to ignore.
  2. Max Scherzer, Texas Rangers, $130 million over 3 years: Mad Max is mad with money! The 39-year-old pitcher, who has earned three Cy Youngs and 9 All-Star Game nods in his career, signed his short-term megadeal worth $43.3 million per year with the New York Mets ahead of the 2022 season. But after Steve Cohen's Dream Team fell apart, Scherzer was traded to the Rangers in the middle of the 2023 season. More recently, Scherzer has undergone surgery for a herniated disk in his back, and is expected to return to the defending champs midsummer.
  3. Justin Verlander, Houston Astros, $86.67 million over 2 years: Verlander, like Scherzer, signed a megadeal worth around $43.3 million per year with the Mets just as he was approaching 40. Again, like Scherzer, Verlander was traded during the 2023 season. Verlander's contract also has an option for 2025 worth $35 million if he reaches 140 innings pitched this season.
  4. Jacob deGrom, Texas Rangers, $185 million over 5 years: Another former Met, deGrom left the Big Apple for Texas in free agency in 2023, signing his deal worth $37 million per year with the Rangers. Early into the season, deGrom had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He is expected to return, along with Scherzer, midsummer 2024.
  5. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees, $324 million over 9 years: The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner was scooped up by the Yankees in free agency before the 2020 season. Cole has also been an All-Star three times and had an overall 3.08 ERA in pinstripes during the regular season. However, there is something to note about Cole's contract: It has an opt-out clause after the 2024 season. But if Cole opts out, the Yankees can opt back in and add a tenth year at $36 million, boosting the overall contract's worth to $360 million.
  6. Yoshinobo Yamamoto, Los Angeles Dodgers, $325 million over 12 years: Signed this offseason, Yamamoto has still not pitched an inning in Major League Baseball. But that didn't stop teams from trying to make him one of the highest-paid pitchers in the game. With the signing, the Dodgers also had to pay a posting fee estimated to be around $50 million. (Some will try to argue that Yamamoto gets paid more than Cole, but given the per year number and Cole's likely opt-out/opt-in scenario, he should be second.)
  7. Tyler Glasnow, Los Angeles Dodgers, $135 million over 5 years: Glasnow was the third arm the Dodgers added this offseason, acquiring the SoCal native in a trade with the Rays and then signing him to an extension that also includes a team option for 2029 worth $30 million. Glasnow's contract took some in the MLB world by surprise, given that the most games the injury-prone pitcher has ever started is 21 in 2023, but the Dodgers don't seem too worried about cash.
  8. Carlos Rodón, New York Yankees, $162 million over 6 years: Rodón in the two years before his free agency racked up ERAs under 3.00, setting him up for his steep payday. In his first season with the Yankees last year, he was out most of the year due to injury, and when he did pitch he put up an ERA of 6.85. Timing really is everything.
  9. Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies, $172 million over 7 years: Nola signed a contract extension with the Phillies ahead of this upcoming season, securing him in Philly until he is 37 years old, and possibly for life.
  10. Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies, $118 million over 5 years: Wheeler was set to enter free agency after the 2024 season, but inked a three-year, $126 million extension over the offseason that begins in 2025. In 2023, he came in sixth in Cy Young voting in the National League and earned a Gold Glove.
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