Moneyball 2009: Top 25 Baseball Salaries

You wouldn't think we're in an economic pinch by looking at how much Major League Baseball owners are paying their players. Check out the top 25 salaries of 2009.

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What recession? One look at the salaries of the guys who play a game for a living makes you wonder how bad the economy really is. Let's take a look at the top 25 salaries in MLB in 2009...
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No. 25: Lance Berkman, Houston Astros, $14,500,000
The “Big Puma” earns big cheddar, with a paycheck that worked out to a cool half-million per home run in 2008. The man formerly known as “Fat Elvis” could buy 290,000,000 hot dogs (that’s before taxes, for those of you who think this sounds like a good idea).
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No. 24: Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros, $14,811,414
At 19, Tejada was signed by the Oakland A’s for $2,000. We wonder if our own bosses would be amenable to a 740,470% pay raise.
4/26
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No. 20 (t): Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees, $15,000,000
Mo, who’s got four World Series titles under his belt, has enough money to build a popemobile to shield himself from everyone who hates the Yankees.
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No. 20 (t): Derek Lowe, Atlanta Braves, $15,000,000
Lowe probably ends up with only half this salary, thanks to an affair with then-Fox Sports reporter and now-wife Carolyn Hughes that ended his first marriage.
6/26
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No. 20 (t): Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies, $15,000,000
Big guy Ryan Howard earned his dough as the fastest man to reach 100 home runs in the Majors (we’re guessing he gobbled his way there). On top of his salary from the Phils, Howard cashes a check as a Subway sandwich pitchman.
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James Ham
No. 20 (t): Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels, $15,000,000
Vladdy gets paid for his ability to crush balls both in and out of the strike zone. He’s used some of that cash to start several businesses back in the Dominican Republic in an effort to provide jobs. None of them make much money, he says, but that’s beside the point.
8/26
AP
No. 19: Jason Schmidt, Los Angeles Dodgers, $15,217,401
Schmidt’s fat paycheck buys a lot of superstitious game-day meals of French toast -- and will likely cover a little retail therapy as he sits out a few weeks recovering from a shoulder injury while his team opens the season.
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Foto/Video: Phoenix Police Department
No. 18: CC Sabathia, New York Yankees, $15,285,714
How will Sabathia recover from his opening day debacle on the mound? Sleep on a gigantic pile of money (personally, we’d have a bust of ourselves made out of emeralds, but to each their own). His $161 million dollar contract is the largest for a pitcher in MLB history.
10/26
DIOSA PACHECO
No. 17: Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves, $15,500,000
Tim Hudson proves that money can’t buy a good tattoo.
11/26
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No. 16: A.J. Burnett, New York Yankees, $16,500,000
A.J. Burnett’s getting paaaaaid by the Yankees, but we’ll always remember him as that guy with the nipple rings who was asked to leave the Marlins for mouthing off. Memories!
12/26
San Diego County Crime Stoppers
No. 15: Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies, $16,600,000
Helton is a 5-time All-Star, 4-time Silver Slugger, 3-time Gold Glove winner, and possessor of the most well-groomed facial hair money can buy. Look at it! Like a rich, espresso-colored, hand-woven carpet.
13/26
AP
No. 14: Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs, $16,650,000
It’s no wonder that the Cubs are willing to pony up for third baseman Ramirez – they’d tried 97 players at the position in 30 years before finding their golden boy.
14/26
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No. 13: Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs, $17,000,000 In 1997, Soriano was making just $40,000 playing in Japan. He’s now the sole member of the 40-40-40 club, so it’s nice his much-larger paycheck can be spent to offset his loneliness at the top.
15/26
Melissa S. Treacy | The Alternative Press of Lower Providence
No. 11(t): Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners, $18,000,000
Looks like all the tire-hurling and shovel-swinging he did as a teenager in Japan has paid off for Ichiro: he’s now sharing a neighborhood with Bill Gates.
16/26
AP
No. 11(t): Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels, $18,000,000
Center fielder Hunter has climbed tax brackets like he climbs the outfield wall in highlight reels. Sammy Sosa calls him “spider man,” we call him out of our league.
17/26
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No. 10: Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants, $18,500,000
Pitcher Zito may be in a slump, but he’s still paid enough by the Giants to continue purchasing his own autographed baseball cards on eBay – and lots of them.
18/26
AP
No. 9: Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs, $18,750,000
Big Z’s one of the best hitting pitchers in the game, and he’s got the stacks to prove it. He signed a $91.5 million contract in 2007.
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No. 8: Johan Santana, New York Mets, $18,876,139
A few years ago Santana bought a yellow fire truck. Because Hummers just aren’t big enough to hold a man making so much money? Nope. He gave it to his hometown of Tovar, Venezuela. He also produces a wine, Santana’s Select, with proceeds benefitting his charitable foundation.
20/26
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No. 7: Magglio Ordonez, Detroit Tigers, $18,971,596
The right-fielder secured the second-highest contract awarded in Tigers history. Of course, even the bat boys are starting to demand payment just to live in Detroit these days.
21/26
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No. 6: Carlos Lee, Houston Astros, $19,000,000
The 3-time All Star signed a six-year, $100 million contract with the Astros in 2006, where he now commands a following of fans called “Los Caballitos” who ride stick horses in the left center-field stands when he hits a home run. No word if they’re actually on his payroll – but he certainly could afford them.
22/26
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No. 5: Carlos Beltran, New York Mets, $19,243,682
Carlos Beltran tips his hat to himself for choosing to give up volleyball as a teenager to concentrate on a sport that earned him a contract over $100 million. Take that, Misty May.
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NBCWashington.com
No. 4: Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees, $20,625,000
Imagine turning down down an eight-year, $140,000,000 contract. That’s what Teixeira did with Texas before eventually finding his way into the monied arms of the Yankees.
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No. 3: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, $21,600,000
The current captain of the Yanks has spent his whole career with the richest team in baseball, and has a laundry list of past girlfriends to reflect it -- including Mariah Carey, Miss Universe Lara Dutta, and Adriana Lima. He’s also the league’s second highest-paid endorser.
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Dan Chusid
No. 2: Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers, $23,854,494
“Manny being Manny” is Manny being very, very rich. His new contract with the Dodgers comes on the heels of an eight-year, $160 million deal with the Red Sox.
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No. 1: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees, $33,000,000
No one loves Alex Rodriguez, but they sure will pay the man to play baseball. Things he does with his cash: feed his substantial ego, court hookers with the gentlemen’s tools of flowers and jewelry and occasionally give back, like he did when he paid for renovations to the University of Miami’s dilapidated baseball stadium. (Stats according to USAToday.com)
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