Alex Rodriguez will make more this year than all the Houston Astros combined. And he won't even play the first half of the season, if at all. A-Rod's $29 million salary tops the major leagues for the 13th straight season, according to a study of major league contracts by the Associated Press. Rodriguez's Yankees are on track to have the highest payroll on opening day for the 15th straight year, climbing above the Los Angeles Dodgers to a projected $228 million with this week's acquisition of Vernon Wells.
With teams due to set opening-day rosters Sunday, the Yankees' payroll will be nearly 10 times the spending of the Astros, who have shrunk their payroll to about $25 million. Rodriguez, recovering from hip surgery, is followed on the money list by Philadelphia pitcher Cliff Lee at $25 million. Three of the top six will start the season on the DL, with A-Rod joined by New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana (third at $24.6 million) and Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (sixth at $23.1 million). Wells is fourth at $24.6 million and CC Sabathia fifth at $24.3 million, giving the Yankees four of the top six.