NEW YORK (AP) -- The average major league baseball salary rose to nearly $2.3 million this year, a 7.3 percent increase that was the smallest since 1998.
Every team's average topped $1 million for the first time.
Just five of the eight playoff teams were among the top 12 in average salary. Anaheim won its first World Series, despite ranking 13th at $2,160,054, while NL champion San Francisco was ninth at $3,030,571.
Other teams that got the most from their money were AL West champion Oakland, 21st at $1,746,264, and AL Central winner Minnesota, 26th at $1,430,068.
The New York Yankees, eliminated by Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs, averaged a record $4,902,777, nearly $1 million higher than the previous mark of $3,930,334 they set in 2001.
With 29 players on their roster and DL, the Yankees' closing payroll was $142 million, according to the annual study released Tuesday by the Major League Baseball Players Association.
New York has had the highest average for four straight years and eight of nine. The team was targeted by baseball's new labor contract, which increases revenue sharing and reimposes a luxury tax, and the Yankees are trying to cut payroll for 2003.
Including all 895 players on Aug. 31 rosters and disabled lists, the average was $2,295,694. Following three straight seasons of increases that ranged from 13 to 18 percent, the average went up by the smallest amount since 1998's 4.7 percent rise.
''The numbers are what they are. They change every year. Other than that, I'm not going to comment,'' union head Donald Fehr said.
Commissioner Bud Selig did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
Final management calculations, which are slightly different, will be available later this month.
Five teams among the top 10 spenders failed to make the playoffs this year: No. 2 Boston (at $3,633,457), No. 3 Los Angeles, No. 4 Seattle, No. 6 Mets and No. 8 Texas.
Among the teams with the top 13 averages, the only ones with losing records were the Mets (75-86), Texas (72-90) and the Cubs (67-95). Among the rest, the only ones with winning records were Oakland (103-59), Montreal (83-79) and Minnesota (94-67).
Twenty-three of the 30 teams had higher averages than 2001, with Los Angeles, the Cubs, Cleveland, Toronto, Baltimore, Colorado and Detroit the only ones with decreases.
Montreal, operated by the commissioner's office on behalf of the other 29 teams, had the lowest average in 2001 but had a 61 percent increase this year to $1,497,309.
Tampa Bay had the lowest average for the first time at $1,131,474, San Diego was 29th, Milwaukee 28th and Pittsburgh 27th.
Designated hitters were the highest-paid players, averaging $6,186,224, followed by first basemen ($5,701,654), shortstops ($4,182,703), outfielders ($3,992,607), catchers ($3,645,329), third basemen ($3,339,078), starting pitchers ($3,315,341), second basemen ($3,189,423) and relievers ($1,516,079).
Players with two-to-three years of major league service who were not eligible for arbitration averaged $491,371, while those who were eligible averaged $1,192,541.
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