Listing the 25 most overpaid MLB players in 2023, from future Hall of Famers to surprise names

Jul 25, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Los Angeles Angles center fielder Mike Trout (27) sits in dugout in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 25, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Los Angeles Angles center fielder Mike Trout (27) sits in dugout in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout
Mike Trout.  Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

10. Mike Trout, center fielder, Los Angeles Angels

As good as Mike Trout has been and continues to be, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that he is the face of the franchise in 2023. The Angels signed Anthony Rendon for more money in 2020, and their recently announced decision not to trade Shohei Ohtani strongly suggests they want to hold on to him as well beyond 2023.

That actually make sense because one-third of the way through his own 12-year, $426 million contract signed in 2019, Trout’s value may be beginning to wane. Virtually across the board – average, on base, slug – his productivity will hit career lows in 2023.

His 133 OPS+ is still good by the standards of the average player, but it’s 40 points below Trout’s career average in that category.

So it’s no surprise that the ‘overpaid’ list – and keep in mind here that’s we’re looking only at on-field performance relative to his peers — is not kind to Trout. The average qualified center fielder – there are 31 of them – earns just $5.047 million. Only catchers and second basemen as a group earn less. In return for that middle outfielders generate 1.628 WAR, making center field the single most productive position on the field.

At $37.117 million, Trout earns more than twice as much as any of his peers. Brandon Nimmo is second at $18.5 million. So based on the combination of salary and the position’s general productivity he ought to be an 11.4 WAR player. In reality he sits at 2.9 WAR.

That’s still the third best WAR of his class – only Luis Robert Jr. and Kevin Kiermaier have been more productive in 2023. But translating money to payroll, it still only values out to $8.99 million, meaning he is overpaid in the amount of $28.127 million.