7 of the Highest-Paid Players on the New York Yankees

The New York Yankees possess the highest payroll in Major League Baseball (MLB) at $243.9 million, $26.1 million of which is in retained salaries. Only two other teams—the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros—have a payroll in excess of $200 million. Conversely, 12 teams have a payroll lower than $100 million, while the Yankees’ payroll is higher than that of four teams—the Miami Marlins ($40.7 million), Baltimore Orioles ($45.5 million), Tampa Bay Rays ($52.5 million), and the Pittsburgh Pirates ($58.3 million)—combined. Here are the seven highest-paid players on the Yankees:

Gerrit Cole

The most coveted free agent pitcher in the recent off-season, Gerrit Cole earned the fourth-largest contract in MLB history in December 2019, when he agreed to a nine-year, $324 million contract with the Yankees. The contract is the largest signed by a pitcher, and its $36 million average annual value (AAV) is the highest in the league. Stephen Strasburg and Zack Greinke’s contracts carry respective AAVs of $35 million and $34.1 million. Cole’s contract includes a full no-trade clause and a player opt-out clause following the 2024 season.

Gerrit Cole
Image by Bart Hanlon | Flickr

Originally selected by the Yankees 28th overall in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft, Cole instead opted to enroll at the University of California, Los Angeles and, three years later, was selected first overall in the draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over the course of five seasons with the Pirates and two with the Houston Astros, the 6-foot-4, right-handed pitcher accumulated a career win-loss record of 94-52, in addition to a 3.22 earned run average (ERA) and 1,336 strikeouts. He led the league in strikeouts this past season with 326.

Giancarlo Stanton

The only non-pitcher among New York’s seven highest-paid players, Giancarlo Stanton signed a 13-year, $325 million contract with the Yankees prior to the 2018 season. The 6-foot-6 outfielder and designated hitter was named National League MVP as a member of the Miami Marlins the year before he signed with the Yankees. He had 38 home runs and 100 runs batted in (RBI) in his first season with New York, but was limited to only 18 games due to injury in 2019. The four-time All-Star has played a combined 1,162 regular season games with the Marlins and Yankees and has 308 home runs, 785 RBI, and a .268 batting average.

Masahiro Tanaka

A 31-year-old native of Itami, Japan, Masahiro Tanaka signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees prior to the 2014 season and will earn $23 million in 2020, his final season under contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent. The right-handed starting pitcher was named an All-Star in his first season with New York and finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting. He earned All-Star distinction for the second time in his career in 2019 and, through 163 career starts, boasts a record of 75-34, in addition to a 3.75 ERA and 947 strikeouts.

Aroldis Chapman

Acquired by the Yankees from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015, Aroldis Chapman was dealt to the Chicago Cubs seven months later, but signed a five-year, $86 million contract with the Yankees as a free agent in December 2016. This past November, with two seasons remaining on his contract, Chapman agreed to amend it to a three-year, $48 million contract. He will earn $15 million in each of the next two seasons and $18 million in 2022.

Aroldis Chapman
Image by Gene Wang | Flickr

A six-time All-Star, the 31-year-old, left-handed relief pitcher has appeared in 550 games over the course of his 10-year career. In this time, he has compiled a 33-26 record, 273 saves, 883 strikeouts, and a 2.23 ERA.

J.A. Happ

The oldest player on New York’s 26-man roster, J.A. Happ is entering the first year of a two-year, $34 million contract with the Yankees. The 37-year-old, left-handed pitcher was acquired by the Yankees from the Toronto Blue Jays in July 2018. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career that season and, following the trade, was among the best pitchers in the American League. A third-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2004, Happ boasts a record of 121-90, as well as a 3.99 ERA and 1,497 strikeouts over the course of 315 games.

Zack Britton

A two-time All-Star, Zack Britton was acquired by the Yankees from the Baltimore Orioles in July 2018 in exchange for Dillon Tate, Josh Rogers, and Cody Carroll. He became a free agent the following season, but opted to re-sign with the Yankees for $39 million over three seasons with a $14 million club option for the 2022 season. A former closer with the Orioles, Britton has appeared in 397 games over his nine-year career and boasts a record of 34-23, in addition to a 3.07 ERA and 499 strikeouts.

James Paxton

Canadian James Paxton spent the first six seasons of his MLB career with the Seattle Mariners and was traded to the Yankees in November 2018 in exchange for Erik Swanson, Justus Sheffield, and Dom Thompson-Williams. He will make $12.5 million in the 2020 season and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021. He has a record of 56-32, a 3.50 ERA, and 803 strikeouts throughout 131 career starts.