It looks like the lockout that lasted 99 days wound up benefitting MLB players after all.
According to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, the average MLB salary was up to $4.4 million on opening day this season, a 5.9-percent increase from 2021.
The average of $4,414,184 is just shy of the record of $4,451,508 set in 2017, per Blum.
The increase this season is likely due in part to Max Scherzer's record deal with the New York Mets that pays him an average of $43.3 million per year. The deal broke the previous mark of $38 million set by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer last year.
The Opening Day payrolls were projected at a total of $4.5 billion by MLB, which is reportedly a 10 percent increase from the previous high of $4.1 billion.
The average player salary is expected to increase as the year goes on. Rosters were expanded from 26 players to 28 through May 1, which slightly affected the number. Also, the new labor contract’s $50 million bonus pool for lower-salaried players will boost this season's final average. Per Blum, with those factors taken into consideration, the average would be up to $4.68 million.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have the highest payroll this season at $285 million. The Baltimore Orioles are at the other end of the spectrum at $38 million, substantially less than Scherzer's yearly salary and barely above Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout's $37.1 million.