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Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Gerrit Cole, and other MLB stars recently signed historic contracts worth upwards of $30 million per year. Unfortunately for them, the shortened season will cut their massive salaries by nearly 40%. The brightest stars in the league will all earn less than $20 million with the prorated salary structure in 2020.

Luckily for some players, the prorated salaries don’t apply to those not on active rosters. This loophole means former Miami Marlins pitcher Wei-Yin Chen will be the second-highest-paid MLB player in 2020, and he probably won’t even throw a single pitch.

The highest-paid MLB players won’t be making what they’re used to in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic forced MLB to drastically change the format of the 2020 season. Instead of 162 games, teams will only play 60. Instead of full salaries, players will be docked close to 40% of their usual earnings.

The Mike Trouts and Bryce Harpers of the world can say goodbye to the $30-plus million fortune they were set to earn in 2020. Under the prorated salary structure, a large majority of MLB players will earn less than $15 million this season.

Considering they aren’t even playing half of a typical season, the players are still being fairly paid. Play 60 games — earn 60 games worth of salary. But what if you play zero games?

Wei-Yin Chen will earn $22 million this season and probably won’t throw a single pitch

Wei-Yin Chen is not currently on an MLB roster. He was cut by the Marlins last season and played a short stint with the Seattle Mariners this year before getting released again.

With his struggles in the last few years, it’s unlikely Chen will find a home in the Majors this season. He pitched in 45 games for the Marlins last year, and Miami went an abysmal 6-39. The team lost 23 of the last 24 games Chen appeared in before eventually releasing him.

Despite his struggles, Chen still raked in a ton of cash in 2019. He earned $20 million last season alone, and he’s due $22 million from the Marlins this year whether he plays or not.

Wei-Yin Chen will be the second-highest-paid MLB player in 2020

Because MLB was forced to shorten its 2020 season, players had to accept a pay cut. The highest-paid active players will now earn less than $15 million this season from their prorated salaries.

Jon Lester and Max Scherzer are the only two active players who will earn more than $15 million, and that’s only because of signing bonuses.

Chen’s $22 million payday makes him the second-highest-paid player in the entire MLB in 2020. Only Prince Fielder, who also will be watching from the couch, will earn more than Chen.

Players who were released before the prorated salary structure went into place will still earn their full 2020 salaries. Even if Chen doesn’t throw a single pitch this season, he’ll still make more money than all of baseball’s biggest stars.

Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, contract info courtesy of Spotrac


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