10:59 PM ET
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.