Baseball's average salary increased 3.8 percent this year to a record $3.2 million.
According to final figures released Friday by the Major League Baseball Players Association, the rise was the steepest since 2007. The boost was helped by an increase in the minimum salary from $414,000 to $480,000.
The New York Yankees had the highest average for the 14th consecutive season at $6.88 million.
The Los Angeles Dodgers rose from 13th to second at $5.55 million and Texas from 15th to fifth at $4.89 million.
At nearly $685,000 Houston had the lowest average since the 2006 Florida Marlins.
CARDINALS: Reliever Randy Choate and St. Louis finalized a $7.5 million, three-year deal.
The 37-year-old left-hander tied for the major league lead with 80 pitching appearances last year, splitting the season between the Marlins and Dodgers.
CUBS: Chicago finalized a $9.5 million, two-year deal with Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa.
The 32-year-old right-hander had 220 saves in 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League. He played for Japan at the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics and the 2008 Olympics.
General manager Jed Hoyer says Carlos Marmol remains the Cubs' closer but did not rule out the possibility of Fujikawa earning the role.
DIAMONDBACKS: Pitcher Brandon McCarthy has reached agreement on a two-year contract, pending a physical.
McCarthy, Oakland's Opening Day starter last season, was hit in the right side of the head by a line drive Sept. 5. The 29-year-old sustained an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture and had a two-hour surgery.
Last month, McCarthy spent two days undergoing extensive evaluations by concussion expert Michael Collins at the University of Pittsburgh. He was cleared to begin working out and resuming his regular offseason routine.
NATIONALS: Right-hander Dan Haren finalized a one-year contract.
Earlier in the week, The Associated Press reported it would be worth $13 million.
Haren is 119-97 with a 3.66 ERA with four clubs and was an All-Star in 2007, '08 and '09.
YANKEES: Outfielder Brett Gardner and agreed to a $2.85 million, one-year contract to avoid salary arbitration.