MLB is full of massive contracts. Just this season, pitcher Max Scherzer became the highest-paid player in history after penning a deal with the New York Mets. The deal will reportedly see Scherzer make $135 million over the course of three seasons.
Other blockbuster signings from this past season include Carlos Correa and Freddie Freeman. However, we never hear very much at all about players on the other end of that spectrum. What is the least amount of money a player can make?
It bears keeping in mind that baseball players are laughing their way to the bank. At least, more than they ever used to. Even when taking into account inflation, salaries in baseball a century ago were a pittance of what they currently are.
Babe Ruth, the New York Yankees legend, is seen as one of the best players ever to play. In 1927, in the wake of a season wherein Ruth hit 60 home runs, his salary was only about $70,000 - about $1 million today. The signing made Ruth the highest paid player in history to date.
"OTD in 1927: Babe Ruth signs a 3-year, $70,000 per season contract, becoming the highest-paid player in MLB history. Even after adjusting for inflation, that's still only $1M per year. The average MLB salary is currently ~$4M." - @ Joe Pompliano
It was not until 1967 that the league enacted a minimum salary requirement for players. The agreement reached that year entitled any pro ball player to at least $6,000 per annum. That number was only about $50,000 in today's money, meaning being a pro baseball player was not nessecarily lucrative.
Every few seasons, the league reaches a new CBA with the Player's Association. CBA is a Collective Bargaining Agreement, meaning that it sets the terms for how organizations interact with players.
Under the CBA terms, it was not until 1990 that the minimum MLB salary even eclipsed $100,000. Of course, it would be laughable to even consider paying a player a pittance like that today.
"MLB proposed 675K minimum salary. Union still seeks 700K plus." - @ Jon Heyman
So how much do the lowest paid MLB players make today?
Although most fans shudder at the memory, a lockout was almost enacted this season on account of the expiration of the most recent CBA. Under the new CBA reached on the very eve of the 2022 season, the minimum salary is $700,000. Although it is due to rise to $780,000 for the 2026 season, the minimum salary stands at odds with the league average, which is about $4.4 million per annum.