This was just the fifth decline since records started in 1967, when the average was ,000. There also were drops in 1987, when clubs were found guilty of collusion; in 1995, after the end of a 7 1/2-month strike; and in 2004.
2018-19

40
34

7 million
25

Offseason Signings Contract Years Total Dollars
71 2019-20 There are likely several reasons for that, including several rebuilding teams looking to make the jump to contender (Padres, White Sox) and several teams desperate to contend after spinning their wheels the last few years (Angels, Phillies). Still, big market clubs like the Astros, Cubs, and Red Sox are crying poor and looking to shed money to make additions. Even if you subtract out the Gerrit Cole (4 million), Anthony Rendon (5 million), and Stephen Strasburg (5 million) mega-deals, teams spent considerably more during this period (8 million) than either of the previous two offseasons. Those guys are special players and they received special contracts. Overall though, free agent spending is on the rise.
Here are the 2019 salary details from the Associated Press: .372 billion Free agency has bounced back in a big way this offseason and perhaps that’s an indication the average salary will increase next year. Here’s how much MLB teams have spent on free agents (guaranteed major league contracts only) from Nov. 1 through the final day of the Winter Meetings each of the last five offseasons: 53
34 9 million 9 million 113 2015-16

88
The current collective bargaining agreement expires in Dec. 2021 and the MLBPA is gearing up for a fight given the decline in free agency and player salaries. This offseason could be an indication teams are ready to spend big again, and that’s encouraging, but it is far too early to say that definitively. The average salary declined again and the union should be furious.
The average salary has now dropped in back-to-back seasons despite record revenues that have topped billion league-wide. The luxury tax is serving as a de facto salary cap even though the penalties are not that harsh — the Red Sox owe the most in luxury tax this year, a mere .4 million — and teams have scaled back on free agent spending in recent years.