Star athletes on major-market teams make a lot of money. That's not new.
Lesser-known players on struggling or small-market teams, on the other hand, can't quite command the big bucks. That's not new either.
But the disparity between the haves and the have-nots, or in this case, the paids and the paid-nots, has never seemed wider than the 2013 season, which opens Sunday.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez won't be hitting the field Sunday, or probably any day for the first half of the season, but he'll still get paid his incredible $30 million salary.
A-Rod, the highest-paid player in major league baseball in 2012, makes more in a year than the entire roster of the Houston Astros.
And he's not the only one: the Astros' $25 million payroll is also smaller than Johan Santana of the Mets ($25.5 million) and Cliff Lee of the Phillies ($25 million).
Major League Baseball imposes a luxury tax on teams whose payrolls substantially overrun the rest of the league, first implemented in 2003.
In 2011-2013, the threshold was $178 million, which the Yankees overpaid by $20 million in 2012. In fact, in the 10 years since the MLB began collecting the luxury tax, the Yankees have paid more than 90 percent of all fines imposed.
"The goal of the team every year is to do what's necessary to field a championship team," Yankees President Randy Levine said. "That goes for this year and, as Hal Steinbrenner has said, next year and every year going forward."
Coming off a season in which they lost a league-worst 107 games, the Astros are in a rebuilding year. But Forbes assesses the Houston franchise's value at $626 million, with the team turning a profit.
"Payrolls under $50 million is just a slap in the face to their fan base," said Julie Wechter Beddow, on ESPN. "All teams make more then that from the private and shared TV contracts. Teams like the Marlins and Astros just field cheap teams to pocket the extra money."
New York is projected to have an opening day roster salary of $228 million in 2013, likely leading the league for the 15th consecutive season.
More than $90 million of that -- Rodriguez's, Mark Texeira's, Derek Jeter's, Curtis Granderson's and Phil Hughes's salaries combines -- will start the season on the disabled list.