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MLB average salary exceeds $4 million

Major league players in 2015 are making, on average, $600,000 more than they earned just three years ago.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The average yearly salary for a Major League Baseball player is expected to exceed $4 million when clubs set their rosters on Sunday, according to Ronald Blum of The Associated Press.

The record-high number, which is projected to be around $4.25 million, comes just five years after players cracked the $3 million barrier for the first time. When free agency was introduced into baseball almost 40 years ago, the average player made $50,000. A few years later, Nolan Ryan became the first MLB player to earn $1 million in a single season.

The average salary now is roughly equal to what Jose Canseco, baseball's first $4 million player, made in 1990.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have both the highest team payroll -- $275.9 million, per USA Today's Bob Nightengale -- and the league's highest-paid player. Three-time Cy Young Award winner and reigning National League MVP Clayton Kershaw will make $31 million -- a $30 million base salary plus a $1 million award bonus -- this season.

Including Kershaw, six major league players will earn at least $25 million this season. Fellow Dodgers players Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford will make more than $21 million apiece, and a total of eight players on Los Angeles will take home $10 million or more, per Baseball Prospectus' Cot's Baseball Contracts.

The Miami Marlins -- despite the record 13-year, $325 million contract to which they signed star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton this offseason -- boast the league's lowest payroll at $68.5 million. Stanton's yearly earnings won't exceed $20 million until 2018.