The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their third straight National League West title and postseason berth with a 92-70 record this season, and even led Major League Baseball in attendance for the third consecutive year this season. And it cost only $314,168,414.
Now it’s not as if the Dodgers ownership group, Guggenheim Baseball Management, was forced to scour the depths of the couches in their New York City and Chicago headquarters to pay their high-priced players’ salaries. The deep-pocketed owners began shelling out lucrative contracts not long after they took charge in March 2012.
The Dodgers certainly blew away the rest of the competition this season in terms of payroll. The typically wheeling-and-dealing New York Yankees ranked a distant second in team payroll this season at $219,256,867.
And now the Dodgers head into Game 1 of their NL Division Series with the New York Mets (No. 15 in payroll rankings with $120,415,688), with four of the five highest-paid players left in the postseason.
Altogether, this key group made a combined $124,785,712 in 2015, according to salary figures compiled by Spotrac.
Here’s a look at each with just how much the Dodgers paid for every win, strikeout, home run, or RBI, along with how much the Texas Rangers' paid for Prince Fielder.
Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers, $32,571,428
The reigning NL Cy Young-winner and MVP gets the starting nod against the Mets in Game 1, and stood as the highest paid player in all of baseball in 2015. The 27-year-old Kershaw wasn’t nearly as dominate this season as he was in 2014, but was still one of baseball’s most durable stars, leading the NL with 33 starts, four complete games, three shutouts, 301 strikeouts, and 232 2/3 innings for a 16-7 record.
What they paid him for: Kershaw earned $108,210 per strikeout.
Zack Greinke, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers, $25,000,000
The Dodgers are likely assured of back-to-back Cy Young winners in their rotation after Greinke posted the best season of his career. Ranking third overall in salary this season, the 31-year-old was one of the most dominant pitchers of any era this season, highlighted by his 45 2/3-inning streak without giving up a single run. With a 19-3 record over 32 starts, Greinke led the NL in winning-percentage (.864), ERA (1.66) and WHIP (0.844)
What they paid him for: Greinke cost the Dodgers $1,315,789 per victory this season.
Prince Fielder, DH, Texas Rangers, $24,000,000
Fielder’s the only non-Dodger on this list and was tied for seventh in the majors in total salary this season while he led the Rangers back into the playoffs for the first time in three years. Though he cooled off after a roaring start to the season, the 31-year-old power hitter and former Tiger ripped off 23 home runs, 98 RBI, 28 doubles, and scored 78 runs while notching the second-best batting average of his career (.305.)
What they paid him for: The Rangers needed runs, and Fielder cost $244,987 for every RBI.
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers, $21,857,142
Gonzalez didn’t shatter any records this season, but he quietly led L.A. in nearly every major hitting category: home runs (28), RBI (90), hits (157), batting average (.275), on-base percentage (.350), total bases (274), and doubles (33). The 31-year-old was technically the 15th highest-paid player in baseball, but he played like he belonged in the top 10 or even top 5 discussion.
What they paid him for: Gonzalez drove in runs but what he did best was get on base. L.A. paid him $79,770 for each of his 274 total bases.
Carl Crawford, LF, Los Angeles Dodgers, $21,357,142
Injuries forced Crawford to miss 93 games this season, and when he did play he showed a precipitous decline from his bounce-back play last year. But Crawford recorded solid numbers in his limited time, amassing a .265 average, four home runs, 16 RBI, 19 runs, and 10 stolen bases. And Crawford actually turned it on in the final two months of the regular season, hitting .302 and .310 in August and September, respectively.
What they paid him for: No longer a speedster on the bags, Crawford’s still a solid hitter, with each of his 48 hits costing the Dodgers $444,940.