Scherzer highest paid; Red Sox top payroll list

10:59 PM ET

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Washington pitcher Max Scherzer took over from Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout as baseball’s highest-paid player at $37.4 million, and the World Series champion Boston Red Sox remained the sport’s bigger spender for the second straight year, according to a study of major league salaries by The Associated Press.

Baseball’s average salary dropped for an unprecedented second straight year on Opening Day, falling about $36,000 to approximately $4,375,000. But the drop was due to signing bonuses in new contracts for Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and a few others. Baseball’s accounting rules allocate signing bonuses in equal portions over each guaranteed year of a contract, and the signing bonuses of nine players caused an $82,000 drop in the average.

Trout was highest paid last season at $34.08 million, but his new deal dropped his salary for this year in exchange for a $20 million signing bonus. Scherzer’s salary is discounted because it is deferred with no interest.

The five highest-paid players are all pitchers, with Arizona’s Zack Greinke second at $32.4 million, followed by Boston’s David Price and the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Kershaw at $31 million

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