Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 3/29/13

Here's something for the New York Yankees to chew on while they make an attempt to slim their payroll below the luxury tax threshold.  Alex Rodriguez's $29 million salary is more than the entire Houston Astros payroll combined — over eight MLB minimum wage contracts more. And the injured Yankees slugger won't even be playing a game before the All-Star break — if at all. A-Rod's bloated salary tops the major leagues for the 13th consecutive season, according to a study of major league contracts by The Associated Press while the Yankees' — with all their talk about austerity — $228 million opening day payroll is tops in the major leagues for the 15th straight year. With both teams ready to set opening day rosters Sunday, the Yankees' payroll is almost 10 times the size of the Astros — who have shrink their spending to about $25 million. Carlos Pena is their top earner at $7.25 million. "When we get on the baseball field with whomever the opponent is, they are not sitting there saying: 'Well, their players make more money than us so therefore you're deemed a winner and we're deemed a loser,'" Astros manager Bo Porter said Thursday. "Games are won and lost on the baseball field, and it doesn't matter what somebody is paid every two weeks. At the end of the day, that person has to be better than you today." A-Rod — recovering from January hip surgery — has been recently spotted hitting restaurants in Miami and taking in the Sony Open with his girlfriend Torrie Wilson while the Astros have plodded through their inaugural American league spring training schedule with a 14-16 record.  The Yankees are 13-18. They will meet for a three-game series at the end of April. The Yankees have four of the top six salaried players in the majors and will begin the season with two of them (Mark Teixeira, $23.1 million, is the other) on the DL.  Houston has no such worries about luxury taxes and the such. As Hal Steinbrenner slashes the payroll to get under the $189 million tax threshold by 2014, the Yankees will still pay the fat tax for the 11th consecutive year.

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