12 Largest MLB Contracts in the History

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The most significant MLB contracts always attract attention. Maybe it’s because we love money. Everyone wants to know how much the players earn.

Not all players earn the same amount of money. Some make more, whereas most players earn around the average. But, of course, the stars earn a significant chunk of the capital.

Players Auction (Source: Wikimedia.com)

Sometimes the contract is just so large that they astonish everyone. In the history of MLB, a contract is seen as the worth of a player.

So, let’s take a glance at those eye-popping contracts.

12 Largest MLB Contracts in the History

These 12 largest MLB contracts made headlines and astonished everyone. The figures are taken from CBSsports.

Player Name Paid by (Team Name) Contract Amount
12 Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers $248 million
11 Alex Rodriguez Texas Rangers $252 million
10 Nolan Arenado Colorado Rockies $260 million
9 Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees $275 million
8 Manny Machado San Diego Padres $300 million
7 Gerritt Cole New York Yankees $324 million
6 Giancarlo Stanton Miami Marlins $325 million
5 Bryce Harper Philadelphia Phillies $330 million
4 Fernando Tatis Jr. San Diego Padres $340 million
3 Francisco Lindor New York Mets $341 million
2 Mookie Betts Los Angeles Dodgers $365 million
1 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels $430 million

12. Miguel Cabrera 

Detroit Tigers signed a contract with Miguel Cabrera for eight years before the start of the 2014 season. Over eight years, he will be paid a whopping $248 million.

This makes his salary $31 million a year. Usually, the first baseman is paid a lot of money. However, the performance of Cabrera was so good during the time that the team did not hesitate to pay him.

In 2012, 2013 he was the Most Valuable Player. Similarly, in 2012 Cabrera claimed the Triple Crown with his performance. So, he was able to demand a high salary based on this performance.

11. Alex Rodriguez

After the 2000 MLB season, Rodriguez’s former MLB player moved from Seattle Mariners to Texas Rangers. During this shift, he signed a contract with the Rangers for a grand sum of $252 million.

He stayed with the Rangers for only three seasons. During his stay, he hit 156 home runs while scoring 382 runs. Apart from that, Rodriguez also won the Most Valuable Player of the year in 2003.

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez (Source: Wikimedia.com)

Yet, the Rangers did not win a trophy during this period. But, he was the home run leader during his stay at the Texas Rangers.

The third baseman Rodriguez played his last game in 2016. After retiring from the game, he turned to the media. He hosted some programs and acted in some ads.

10. Nolan Arenado

Another third baseman on this list is Nolan Arenado. From 2013 to 2020, he played for the Colorado Rockies.

For the 2021 season, he transferred from the Rockies to St. Louis Cardinals. Of course, the transfer amount turned everyone’s head around.

More about Nolan Arenado Brother: All About Jonah Arenado

The St. Louis Cardinals bought Nolan with the colossal sum of $260 million. This makes his average salary $35 million. Previously, the Rockies paid him $26 million.

Since his transfer, Nolan was selected to the All-Star team. But, he failed to win the Gold Glove award he had won for the last 8 seasons.

Hopefully, he will return to his form soon.

9. Alex Rodriguez

Most players make one contract that grabs the headline. Alex Rodriguez made two such contracts.

His transfer to the Texas Rangers was already a great deal. However, after the 2003 World Series, he decided to make another deal with the Yankees.

The contract with the Yankees was for $275 million, making it the largest contract in MLB then. As per this contract, he would retire with the Yankees.

Even after his 2016 season, other teams were interested in buying him, but he remained with the Yankees.

News reports were suggesting that Yankees still owed him about $27 million even after his 2016 retirement. Due to this, they decided to make him an advisor for the Yankees.

This is the kind of career everyone would like to have.

8. Manny Machado

With this contract, we enter the exclusive $300 million club. Machado struck a deal with San Diego Padres for 10 years.

The signing amount for the contract was $2 million. The base salary for 10 years is $30 million. This makes Machando’ss salary an enormous sum of $32 million, making it one of the largest contracts in the MLB.

He has made 76 home runs for the San Diego Padres. Manny Machado’s performance for San Diego has been mixed. He made it to the All-Star team only once but was included in First Team for the first time.

In 2020 he had a batting average of .304, an above-average for him. He still has about 7 years of the contract left, so hopefully, his form will be back soon.

7. Gerritt Cole

Most of the players till now were the third basemen. Contrary to them, Gerritt Cole is a pitcher. A pitcher is as vital as a hitter.

It’s well known that the Yankees are one of the wealthiest teams in the MLB. So, they can afford to go the extra mile for a particular player. 

Gerritt Cole pitcher
Gerritt Cole pitcher (Source: Wikimedia.com)

So, after the 2019 season, the Yankees bought Cole from Houston Astros by paying him $324 million. The contract is for 9 years. This makes his salary about $36 million.

Interestingly, the Yankees wanted to sign him for the 2008 draft, but he decided to join the college. So it seems he was destined to play for the Yankees.

Even though his contract is not of the highest amount, his salary is one of the highest.

6. Giancarlo Stanton

Miami Marlins is a relatively young team in the MLB. So, in 2014 they decided to keep their star player by offering him a contract of $325 million.

They offered him a contract despite an injury season in 2013. Giancarlo Stanton delivered on the team’s belief in 2017. In the 2017 season, he won the Most Valuable Player award.

However, after the 2017 season, the Marlins traded him to the New York Yankees. In return, the Marlins acquired Starlin Castro and two other minor league players.

Many fans were surprised when he was traded to the Yankees. After all, they traded the MVP player. And, no one trades MVP players.

Stanton hit two home runs in the first match for the Yankees. Since he has hit 86 home runs for the Yankees.

5. Bryce Harper

6 times All-Star player Bryce Harper was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2019. By then, he had also won the Most Valuable Player award.

So, naturally, Washington Nationals, his previous team, would not let him go cheap. There were many lucrative offers.

Teams such as Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox were interested in Harper. But in the end, Philadelphia Phillies won the deal. Phillies offered $330 million to Bryce for 13 years.

Since then, he has hit 83 home runs with a batting average of .281. Even though he has failed to recreate the magic of 2015, he is still an outstanding player.

4. Fernando Tatis Jr.

Often the teams pay a massive sum to the established players. Sometimes, they also pay a large sum to a promising new prospect.

Read about The Top 20 best MLB players of this Year

Tatis Jr was regarded as one of the best future prospects. Different sports channels such as ESPN and Baseball America agreed that Fernando Tatis Jr. is the player to watch out for.

So, the San Deigo Padres decided to pay $340 million to a newcomer. So far, he has not disappointed the team.

The Shortstop/Outfielder Fernando was selected to the All-Sar in 2021. Apart from that, he also made it to First Team in 2020.

Similarly, he won the Silver Slugger award in 2020. Fernando’s bat also hit the highest home runs.

3. Francisco Lindor

In 2021 the New York Mets offered a contract of $341 million to the Shortstop of the Cleveland Indians. The agreement set the record for the biggest signing bonus amount.

The Mets offered him $21 million as the signing bonus. Most players hope that one day they will earn such an amount as their base salary.

Francisco Lindor one of the largest MLB contracts
Francisco Lindor one of the largest MLB contracts (Source: Wikimedia.com)

Francisco Lindor’s base salary is $22.3 million. So, his combined salary for his first season is $44.3 million. This is why the teens are crazy about baseball.

Read more about Francisco Lindor Mother: Maria Serrano Bio & Facts.

The 4-time All-Star player has also won the Gold Glove award two times. Apart from that, he also won the Silver Slugger Award two times.

2. Mookie Bets

Another largest MLB contract is the contract signed by Mookie Bets. After the 2019 season, Boston Red Sox traded Bets for three players.

Bets was one of the key players for the Boston Red Sox. His form in 2018 was vital in the World Series Championship for the Red Sox.

Even in 2019, he scored 135 runs with a batting average of .295. Yet they traded him to Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers were strong in their division but failed to win the Win Series in the playoffs. So, they bought Mookie Bets.

In 2020, the Los Angeles Dodgers won their first World Series since 1988. So the tradeoff worked in favor of the dodgers.

He was also selected as the second Most Valuable Player of the season.

1. Mike Trout

The largest MLB contract in the history of MLB is to buy Mike Trout. The Los Angeles Angles paid the center fielder a whopping $430 million.

In 2019, Trout signed a deal with the Angeles Angles guaranteeing him a base salary of $36 million per year. Understandably, he is paid such an amount.

He has a batting average of .305. The 9 times All-Star player has won 3 Most Valuable Player awards. The recent one was in 2019.

 Mike Trout MLB
Mike Trout MLB (Source: Wikimedia.com)

Apart from that, he has won 8 Silver Slugger awards. Trout also hit more than 30 home runs with 30 stolen bases in 2012.

Even though his contract is the highest one in the MLB, many analysts say that he is underpaid. He is the key player for Angeles.

The contract is for 12 years and has no option to opt-out.


The athletes make more money in a year than an ordinary human being in many lifetimes. However, it’s also true that they have struggled and worked hard to achieve this spot. Sports is also as tough as life. The only way to move further is by working hard.

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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