MLB notes: Average salary of MLBer going up

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's first baseman Albert Pujols talks to teammates during their MLB...

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's first baseman Albert Pujols talks to teammates during their MLB spring training baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale, Arizona March 27, 2012. (REUTERS/Darryl Webb)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:17 PM ET

The average annual salary of a big-league baseball player now stands at $3.44 million.

Much of the 4.1% increase, the steepest rise since 2008, can be attributed to a number of big-ticket contracts handed out over the off-season. Albert Pujols got a $240 million deal from the Anaheim Angels, Prince Fielder signed with the Detroit Tigers for $214 million and the Miami Marlins boosted their payroll by $40 million by signing a trio of free agents.

A record 14 players will rake in at least $20 million this season, according to USA Today. That number will rise to 19 next season.

The New York Yankees are baseball's biggest spenders, with a payroll of more than $200 million. It's the fifth straight year the Yankees have opened the season with a payroll of at least $200 million. The Philadelphia Phillies ($174 million) and the Boston Red Sox ($173 million) round out the top three high rollers.

On the other side of the coin, the Oakland A's have the lowest payroll at just under $53 million.

DEAL GETTING DONE?

The Texas Rangers are close to signing second baseman Ian Kinsler to a five-year contract extension, according to ESPN.com.

The deal would be worth close to $14 million per season, not including the $10 million option the Rangers would pick up for next year. But Kinsler wouldn't confirm that he was close to getting the extension.

"I would like to get something done," Kinsler told ESPNDallas.com. "I would like to be a Ranger."

Kinsler, 29, is scheduled to earn $7 million this season. He has set a deadline of Friday -- the Rangers don't play their first game until then -- for a new deal to be done.

BRIEFLY

Detroit Tigers catcher Victor Martinez had surgery on his injured left knee Thursday, the second time he's gone under the knife to repair a blown out ACL. He had microfracture surgery in February but needed two months of recovery before getting the ACL fixed ... The Tampa Bay Rays put closer Kyle Farnsworth on the 15-day disabled list due to a sore right elbow. An MRI revealed a strained muscle ... San Diego Padres starter Tim Stauffer was put on the DL with a strained elbow. The former first-round pick was expected to start Thursday's season opener but started experiencing soreness in his elbow over the weekend ... The New York Mets honoured the late Gary (Kid) Carter prior to their season opener against the Atlanta Braves. The family of Carter, who died in February of brain cancer, threw out the first pitch and the Mets wore a patch with his nickname and number on their uniforms ... Mets outfielder Andres Torres is headed to the DL after suffering a calf strain in the season opener. Torres, acquired from San Francisco in the off-season, strained the muscle for the second time in 16 days.


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