Average MLB salary drops for 2nd straight year

NEW YORK — The average salary in the major leagues has dropped in consecutive years for the first time since the players' association started keeping records more than a half-century ago.

The 988 players on Aug. 31 rosters and injured lists averaged $4,051,490, the union said Friday, down 1.1% from $4,095,686 last year. The average peaked at $4,097,122 in 2017.

This was just the fifth decline since records started in 1967, when the average was $19,000. There also were drops in 1987, when clubs were found guilty of collusion; in 1995, after the end of a 7 1/2-month strike; and in 2004.

This year's drop followed two slow free-agent markets and new contracts with large signing bonuses for Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, Jacob deGrom, Paul Goldschmidt, Manny Machado and A.J. Pollock. Their bonuses, even if received in 2019, are prorated over the length of each contract.

Those stars all receive huge increases for 2020, and Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon agreed to $200 million-plus contracts last week.

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