The New York Yankees finished last year with a record US$207.2 million payroll, more than US$90 million ahead of any other team, according to final figures compiled by the Major League Baseball commissioner's office on Friday.
Boston was second at US$116.7 million, with the New York Mets third at US$104 million, followed by the Los Angeles Angels (US$97 million), Philadelphia (US$94.8 million), the Los Angeles Dodgers (US$87.8 million), St. Louis (US$87.4 million) and Atlanta (US$85.9 million).
The Chicago White Sox, who won the World Series for the first time since 1917, were 13th at US$73.2 million. Houston, swept by the White Sox in the Astros' first Series appearance, was 12th at US$76.2 million.
San Diego had the lowest payroll among the eight teams that made the postseason, 16th at US$66.3 million. The Padres were swept in the first round of the playoffs by St. Louis.
Tampa Bay had the lowest payroll at US$26.6 million, with Pittsburgh at US$30.1 million, Colorado at US$32.5 million and Kansas City at US$34.9 million.
Payrolls were based on Aug. 31 active rosters and disabled lists and included prorated shares of signing bonuses. In 2004, the Yankees led the majors with a then-record high of US$187.9 million.
The average MLB salary was US$2,349,394, a 5.5 percent increase from the 2004 average of US$2,227,347. The players' association, in figures released last month, calculated the average at US$2,479,125, a rise of 7.2 percent. The union and management differ in their treatment of signing bonuses and option buyouts.
American League MVP Alex Rodriguez was the highest-paid player at US$21.8 million, which doesn't include US$4 million in money paid by Texas, which was converted to an "assignment bonus" under the 2004 restructuring of his US$252 million, 10-year contract. The changes were made as part of his trade.
San Francisco's Barry Bonds, on the disabled list from the start of the season until Sept. 12 following knee surgery, was second at US$21.3 million, followed by Boston's Manny Ramirez (US$19.9 million), the Yankees' Derek Jeter (US$19.6 million) and Mike Mussina (US$19 million), Baltimore's Sammy Sosa (US$18.9 million) and Houston's Roger Clemens (US$18 million), who at 43 led the majors with a career-best 1.87 ERA.
South Korean pitcher Kim Byung-hyun stayed with the Colorado Rockies, agreeing to a one-year contract on Friday.
Kim rejected salary arbitration on Dec. 19 and had until today to re-sign. He is scheduled to take a physical next week before the contract is finalized.
Kim went 5-12 with a 4.86 ERA in 22 starts and 18 relief appearances last season. He allowed 42 earned runs in 84 innings at Coors Field, making his 4.50 ERA the fourth-lowest home ERA in franchise history for pitchers with at least 81 innings.