Alex Rodriguez Tops Forbes.com’s List Of ‘Baseball’s Highest-Paid Players’

Alex Rodriguez

Alex RodriguezForbes dropped a new list this week — the latest rankings of baseball’s “Highest-Paid Players.”

Topping the list of the 10 highest-paid is New York Yankee’s superstar Alex Rodriguez. He bests second place athlete Joe Mauer by $5 million with earnings of $32 million.

Aside from his annual baseball salary, A.Rod has endorsement deals with the likes of major brands like PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Nike and Colgate. However, Forbes.com notes that his “endorsement portfolio was hardly robust.”

Obviously, his 2009 confession of using a “banned substance” is likely an element that has cost him major endorsement money, and ensures that sponsors will never fully embrace him.

“Despite his noteworthy accomplishments on the field, he hasn’t succeeded in resonating off, if it’s because he lacks a measure of authenticity sought by sponsors and, ultimately, consumers,” David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, tells the publication. “This difficulty in connecting with fans and consumers has weighed heavily on his ability to secure major endorsements.”

Still, Rodriquez remains the top-earning player with a combined on and off-the-field income of $32 million in 2012. His 10-year, $275 million contract extension he signed with the Yankees in 2007 is credited here, which pays him $30 million this year, including a $1 million bonus paid in January.

In addition to A.Rod, three of his Yankees teammates also make the list — including Derek Jeter at #3, pitcher CC Sabathia at #6, and pitcher Mark Teixeira at #8.

Below is the baseball’s top 10 “Highest-Paid Players”, according to Forbes.com:

1. Alex Rodriguez
Earnings: $32 million
A-Rod signed the 2 biggest contracts in baseball history—$252 million with the Texas Rangers in 2000 and $275 million with the Yankees in 2007. The Yankee deal includes $30 million in additional compensation if he reaches certain home run targets. Endorsements have been few for A-Rod despite his star stature. He earns $2 million annually off the field from sponsors Nike, Rawlings, Topps and Vita Coco.

2. Joe Mauer
Earnings: $27 million
Mauer parlayed the 2009 American League MVP Award into an 8-year, $184 million contract extension before the 2010 season. He struggled with injuries last year but is still one of baseball’s most marketable players, banking $4 million a year from endorsements with Nike, Gatorade, Head & Shoulders and Rawlings.

3. Derek Jeter
Earnings: $25 million
The Yankee captain took a pay cut in his latest contract, with a 2011 salary of $15 million versus $21 million in 2010. Jeter is the top endorser in the game, earning $9 million annually from partners such as Nike, Gatorade, Ford, 24-Hour Fitness and Avon.

4. Ichiro Suzuki
Earnings: $24.5 million
Ichiro brings in an estimated $7 million annually from endorsement deals in his native Japan. He is in the final year of the 5-year, $90 million contract extension he signed with the Mariners in 2007.

5. Johan Santana
Earnings: $24.4 million
The 2-time Cy Young Award winner missed the entire 2011 season after shoulder surgery but still collected his full $22.5 million salary. The Mets owe him $55 million (including a $5.5 million buyout) over the final 2 seasons of a 6-year, $137.5 million deal he signed in 2008. Santana is a popular spokesman in his native Venezuela.

6. CC Sabathia
Earnings: $24 million
Sabathia’s 7-year, $161 million contract, signed before the 2009 season, is the largest ever for a pitcher. The 6-foot-7 Sabathia pulls in roughly $1 million annually from sponsors Subway, Pepsi, EA Sports and Nike’s Jordan Brand.

7. Prince Fielder
Earnings: $23.3 million
Fielder signed a free-agent contract with the Tigers in January worth $214 million over 9 years. It is the fourth-biggest contract in baseball history. Fielder slugged 228 home runs with the Milwaukee Brewers the past 6 seasons, the third most in baseball.

8. Mark Teixeira
Earnings: $22.8 million
The Yankees lured Teixeira to the Bronx for the 2009 season with an 8-year, $180 million contract. The 4-time Gold Glove Award winner makes $250,000 off the field from Rawlings, Nike and memorabilia.

9. Cliff Lee
Earnings: $21.8 million
Lee was lauded for shunning bigger offers as a free agent in 2010 to return to Philadelphia, where he spent half of the 2009 season. Lee still did all right for himself with his 5-year, $120 million contract, which has the highest average annual value ever for a pitcher.

10. Ryan Howard
Earnings: $21.5 million
Howard kicks off a 5-year, $125 million contract extension this season but will miss the start of the year after tearing his Achilles tendon in October. Howard is the quickest player in baseball history to hit 250 home runs, doing so in 855 games. He earns $1.5 million annually from sponsors Adidas, Powerade, Subway, Topps and Verizon.

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