Major League Baseball managers control the everyday functions of the team, from setting lineups to pitching rotations and making in-game decisions. The salary of MLB managers depends on several factors, including overall experience, previous successes and the sizes of MLB franchises. Even at the highest level, manager salaries are still smaller than the average salary of MLB players.
Size of Franchise
The size of an MLB franchise often plays a role in how much a team can muster to pay its manager. This also affects the quality of manager a team can hire as those with more experience and better track records tend to sign with clubs in larger media markets which thereforehave more cash to spend. Teams in smaller media markets must often promote from within the organization or hire a candidate with little to no experience, as the Arizona Diamondbacks did in 2010 when they promoted former MLB Most Valuable Player Kirk Gibson from bench coach to manager after an organizational shakeup involving the termination of both the existing manager and general manager.
As of June 2011, the highest-paid manager in Major League Baseball was New York Yankees skipper Joe Girardi. The former Yankee catcher earned $3 million per season to manage the Yankees, though this salary is a discount for New York. The club paid previous manager Joe Torre $7.5 million per season according to USA Today. Torre managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2008 to 2010 after leaving the Yankees. He earned an annual salary of $4.3 million per season while managing in Los Angeles. Torre has more postseason wins than any other manager in MLB history according to ESPN.
The Lowest Paid
Managers of small-market teams, including the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Kansas City Royals, usually earn far less than larger-market counterparts. In 2009, Joe Maddon earned roughly $750,000 to manage the Tampa Devil Rays even after taking the team to the World Series for the first time. Maddon's salary was over three times less than Joe Girardi's salary in New York. Maddon also had three more years of managerial experience than Girardi, though he managed in a smaller media market.
Versus Player Salaries
The salaries of MLB managers, even at the highest level, still pale in comparison to the salaries of the players these professionals must manage. As of June 2011, the minimum salary for a Major League Baseball player is $414,500. This figure is not too far off from the salary of the lowest-paid managers in the league. The average MLB player salary in 2010 was $3,014,572. This figure eclipses the pay for most of the highest-paid managers in baseball.
Jonathan Lister has been a writer and content marketer since 2003. His latest book publication, "Bullet, a Demos City Novel" is forthcoming from J Taylor Publishing in June 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing and poetics from Naropa University.