What Do Players in the Mexican League Make? (2019 Update)

I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what the respective salary scales are throughout the world’s professional baseball leagues.  The Mexican (summer) League numbers couldn’t be found in English on line.  Thanks to Google Translate, I believe I’ve figured out what the current salary caps in this league now are.

As of 2017, when this post was originally published, foreign players couldn’t be paid more than either $6,000 or $6,500 per month for their first season of Mexican League baseball, but could eventually earn as much as $8,000 per month.  Domestic (Mexican) players could earn as much as 150,000 pesos, or a little less than $8,500 per month.  However, before the 2018 season, the salary cap was increased to $10,000 a month for both foreign and domestic players as a result of new sponsorship and/or broadcasting deals that have significantly increased LMB income.

Additionally, many of the Spanish language posts I have read in translation claim that the best foreign and domestic players on the wealthiest Mexican League teams are making significantly more through rule-breaking, salary cap waivers, performance bonuses, luxury apartment and vehicle leases and other stipends or emoluments.

Former major leaguers Jorge Cantu and Freddy Garcia are reported to have made as much as $25,000 and $20,000 per month through salary cap waivers approved by LMB.  I also suspect that veteran stars like Chris Roberson, Josh Lowey and Japhet Amador are making well more than $10,000 a month for LMB play, particularly if league revenues are up as much as reported.  I would also guess that former NL home run champ Chris Carter is making $20,000 to $25,000 per month to play in LMB this year because of his past accomplishments.

Also, there are reportedly no state or federal taxes on salaries in Mexico, which has a much lower cost of living than the U.S.

The fact that Mexican League salaries are significantly higher than I had thought prior to 2017 explains a few things I had been wondering about.  Many foreign players, particularly Latin American players, play in the Mexican League for years after their careers in the MLB system end, something you don’t typically see in the Independent-A Atlantic League where salaries cap at $3,000 per month.  The talent flow is almost exclusively from the Atlantic League to the Mexican League, which makes sense if the salaries are significantly higher.

It also explains something that I had noticed in 2017.  Taiwanese CPBL teams seem to have a strong preference for signing Atlantic League players over Mexican League players, even though the best foreign pitchers in the latter league are succeeding against a higher level of competition.  This is particularly the case once the CPBL season has started.

Atlantic League players can presumably be signed for much lower initial contracts than better paid Mexican League foreign stars, particularly in light of the fact that success in the CPBL would eventually lead to annual or monthly contracts considerably larger than either the Atlantic League or the Mexican League, plus a chance to move up to even bigger salaries in South Korea’s KBO or Japan’s NPB.

Also, Mexican League teams charge much, much larger transfer fees for their players’ rights than do Atlantic League teams.  Part of the reason Atlantic League and other Independent-A teams are able to pay such modest salaries is that they allow their successful players to move up to better baseball pay-days for only nominal transfer fees the moment a better opportunity comes along.

I guestimate that the current transfer fee for an Atlantic League player is around $5,000, and a small percentage of that (20-25%) may go the player.  Mexican League teams will not sell their players cheaply in season if they believe those players can help them make the post-season or can be sold for a substantial transfer fee.  When the Monclova Acereros Del Norte sold Josh Lowey’s rights in season to the KT Wiz of South Korea’s KBO in 2016, I suspect that Monclova received a transfer fee between $150,000 and $250,000 based on the $220,000 salary Lowey received.

With respect to the Mexican Pacific League (LMP), Mexico’s winter league, I haven’t been able to find any information on salaries, but I suspect that foreign players start at around $4,000 and ultimately make as much as $12,000 or $15,000 per month for a 2.5 month season.  However, veteran foreign players like Chris Roberson, who is playing in his 13th LMP season and is good enough to play on Mexico’s team in the Caribbean Series, could be making even more than $15,000 per month.

The Caribbean Series is a big deal in the five countries that participate (Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela), and it’s doubleheader games typically sell out and are thus likely significantly more expensive to buy tickets to see than Winter League regular season games.  However, the whole series is only played out across about one week, which obviously limits how much participating players make for playing in these games.

Explore posts in the same categories: Baseball Abroad, Mexican League, Minor Leagues

8 Comments on “What Do Players in the Mexican League Make? (2019 Update)”

  1. Burly Says:

    At $8,000 a month, there is a living to be made playing baseball in Mexico. While the summer season is only about 4.5 months long, many foreign players also play another 2.5 months in Mexico’s Pacific Winter League or another Caribbean winter league. Players can thus make around $60,000 a year, which is at least a living wage for an American in his 30’s and well better than a living wage for players from Latin America.

    Needless to say, however, baseball playing careers are short and nearly always over within a year or two past age 40. Pro coaches typically don’t much money, except for the field managers.

  2. Burly Says:

    Each year, roughly 20% to 30% of players on Atlantic League rosters at the start of the season move up to a better paying league or back to the MLB system, before the season ends. Atlantic League teams can pay only $3,000 a month at most, because if you are one of the five to seven best performers on your Atlantic League club, the odds are great that you will move quickly on to a better situation.

  3. Burly Says:

    I read a report earlier today suggesting that Josh Lowey’s Mexican League team received a transfer fee higher than the $200,000+ Lowey received to pitch for the KBO’s KT Wiz in the second half of 2016. That would explain why the CPBL likes to sign Atlantic League players for the second half of the CPBL season.

  4. julianna Says:

    Who is the author of this article?

  5. […] have an average salary of around $200,000, foreign players in the Mexican league can make almost $4000/month in a lower cost of living environment, and NPB players have an average salary of around $900,000. […]

  6. Burly Says:

    This article from last summer about four Mexican League players from Bakersfield says that foreign players make from $4,000 to $10,000 per month playing in Mexico.


  7. […] an interesting read from Burly’s Baseball Musings on the salary of the Mexican League (LMB) and the Mexican Winter League […]

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