Baseball's Richest Players

The World Series starts today, but the score is already in—Yankees 5, Phillies 1—in the money game. The Daily Beast crunches the numbers to determine the 10 highest-earning baseball players.

AP Photo

AP Photo

No. 1, ALEX RODRIGUEZ

Team: New York Yankees

Agent: Scott Boras

2009 Salary: $32,000,000

2009 Bonuses: $1,000,0000

2009 Endorsements: $1,500,000

TOTAL: $34,500,000

The Score: The best player in baseball couldn’t have started the year worse: a marital breakup, a hip injury, and then his admission that he used steroids earlier in his career. These revelations, particularly the latter, undermined his marketing appeal—with his winning looks and historic talent, he should be doing much better. (Nike was a mainstay; he also did a Guitar Hero spot.) A clutch World Series could help rehabilitate his image. Regardless, his $275 million contract, which runs through 2017, cures any financial ills.

Chris Carlson / AP Photo

No. 2, DEREK JETER

Team: New York Yankees

Agent: Creative Artists Agency

2009 Salary: $20,000,000

2009 Bonuses: $0

2009 Endorsements: $4,000,000

TOTAL: $24,000,000

The Score: No. 2 for the Yankees comes in No. 2 on our list. With movie-star looks and a classy, winning image, he is, by far, the most sought-after baseball player in terms of endorsements. His client roster includes Ford, Gatorade, Nike and Gillette, where he does ads with Tiger Woods.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

No. 3, C.C. SABATHIA

Team: New York Yankees

Agent: Greg Genske

2009 Salary: $14,000,000

2009 Bonuses: $6,000,000

2009 Endorsements: $400,000

TOTAL: $20,400,000

The Score: Sabathia’s $161 million was the largest ever for a pitcher, and he performed accordingly this year, including recognition as the American League Championship Series MVP on Sunday. While he “only” made $14 million in salary this year, two-thirds of his $9 million signing bonus also hit in 2009. Also, pitches for Subway, and a strong World Series performance would create more endorsement opportunities.

Jim McIsaac / Getty Images

No. 4, MARK TEIXEIRA

Team: New York Yankees

Agent: Scott Boras

2009 Salary: $20,000,000

2009 Bonuses: 0

2009 Endorsements: $300,000

TOTAL: $20,300,000

The Score: Another recipient of the Yankees’ recent shopping binge, the first baseman has played in three different cities in recent years, which has undermined his ability to develop a fan base for endorsements. That could change as he warms up to the Big Apple. With $180 million guaranteed to play, it’s likely not a priority.

AP Photo

No. 5, BARRY ZITO

Team: San Francisco Giants

Agent: Scott Boras

2009 Salary: $18,500,000

2009 Bonuses: $0

2009 Endorsements: $300,000

TOTAL: $18,800,000

The Score: Zito signed a seven-year, nine-digit deal in December 2006, but his performance so far hasn’t met the expectations that come with $126 million (it was the highest ever for a pitcher at the time). Maybe that’s why the engaging Zito has failed to garner lucrative endorsement deals, though he did do a stint as a model for True Religion Jeans last year.

AP Photo

No. 6, CARLOS LEE

Team: Houston Astros

Agent: Wasserman Media Group

2009 Salary: $18,500,000

2009 Bonuses: $0

2009 Endorsements: $100,000

TOTAL: $18,600,000

The Score: Lee joined the nine-figure club in 2006 when he signed a six-year $100 million deal, the biggest in Houston history. But there’s a catch—a weighty one. If the portly slugger wants to collect his full payday, he’s got to stay relatively slim.

Mark Lyons / Getty Images

No. 7, CARLOS ZAMBRANO

Team: Chicago Cubs

Agent: Praver Shapiro Sports Management

2009 Salary: $17,750,000

2009 Bonuses: $100,000

2009 Endorsements: $100,000

TOTAL: $17,950,000

The Score: Zambrano, a large, imposing bull on the field (nicknames: “Big Z”, “El Toro”), is a devout Christian off. His five-year, $91.5 million deal, signed in August 2007, included a $5 million signing bonus. No significant endorsements for the big man, though a long-awaited Cubs World Series victory would change that.

Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

No. 8, TORII HUNTER

Team: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Agent: Reynolds Sports Management

2009 Salary: $17,500,000

2009 Bonuses: $200,000

2009 Endorsements: $200,000

TOTAL: $17,900,000

The Score: With a guaranteed $17.5 million salary, excellence would presumably be part of the assumption. Nevertheless, Hunter scored an extra $100,000 for appearing in the All-Star Game, and he’ll get an additional $100,000 each for a repeat of last year’s Gold Glove win and his first Silver Slugger award (we assumed the former, but he likely didn’t hit well enough to merit the latter).

AP Photo

No. 9, A.J. BURNETT

Team: New York Yankees

Agent: Darek Braunecker

2009 Salary: $16,500,000

2009 Bonuses: $0

2009 Endorsements: $200,000

TOTAL: $16,700,000

The Score: The last of the Yankees’ newest signees won’t make this list next year, after a new crop of free agents score big money. Burnett doesn’t have the breakout talent or personality necessary for big endorsement deals, although his much-chronicled penchant for throwing pies could open up a deal or two. Sara Lee, are you out there?

Christian Petersen / Getty Images

No. 10, RYAN HOWARD

Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Agent: Creative Artists Agency

2009 Salary: $15,000,000

2009 Bonuses: $200,000

2009 Endorsements: $1,500,000

TOTAL: $16,700,000

The Score: The engaging Howard is the lone Phillies player on our list, and also the one cited by the experts we talked with as a potential breakout star. His off-the-field income (Powerade, Subway, etc.) is among the largest in baseball, at least among American-born players (several Japanese players, including Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui do better back home). If he can lead his team to a second consecutive World Series next week, he could take off.