Tampa Bay Rays All-Star pitcher Blake Snell says he will not take the mound this year if his pay is cut further, proclaiming: â€œIâ€™m not playing unless I get mine.â€
â€œIâ€™m not splitting no revenue. I want all mine,â€ the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner said on a Twitch stream Wednesday. â€œBro, y’all got to understand, too, because yâ€™all going to be like: â€˜Bro, play for the love of the game. Man, whatâ€™s wrong with you, bro? Money should not be a thing.â€™ Bro, Iâ€™m risking my life. What do you mean, â€˜It should not be a thing?â€™ It 100% should be a thing.â€
A 27-year-old left-hander, Snell agreed in March 2019 to a $50 million, five-year contract that included a $3 million signing bonus, a $1 million salary last year and a $7 million salary this season.
As part of the March 26 agreement between Major League Baseball and the playersâ€™ association to deal with the delay in the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Snell is being advanced $286,500 for the first 60 days of the season through May 24 but would not get any more in 2020 if no games are played. The deal calls for players to receive prorated shares of salary if the season does start; Snell would get $43,210 for each day of the schedule.
Teams say they would lose money if games are played in empty ballparks, and owners on Monday approved making a proposal to the union to base salaries on a 50-50 split of revenue. The union says the concept amounts to a salary cap, which players have long voted never to accept.
â€œIf Iâ€™m going to play, I should be at the money I signed to be getting paid,â€ Snell said. â€œI should not be getting half of what Iâ€™m getting paid because the seasonâ€™s cut in half, all on top of a 33% cut of the half thatâ€™s already there, so Iâ€™m really getting like 25%. On top of that, itâ€™s getting taxed. So imagine how much Iâ€™m actually making to play, you know what Iâ€™m saying? Like, I ainâ€™t making (expletive). And on top of that, so all of that moneyâ€™s gone and now I play risking my life.â€
Bargaining began Tuesday when MLB made an initial presentation of a plan that calls for an 82-game schedule starting around the Fourth of July, which would reduce Snellâ€™s salary to $3,543,210 under the March 26 deal. Frequent testing for the coronavirus would be part of the plan.
Safety is among playersâ€™ top concerns.
â€œIf I get the â€™rona, guess what happens with that? Oh, yeah, that stays – thatâ€™s in my body forever,â€ Snell said. â€œThe damage that was done to my body, thatâ€™s going to be there forever. So now I got to play with that on top of that. So, yâ€™all got to – I mean – youâ€™all got to understand, man, for to go, for me to take a pay cut is not happening because the risk is through the roof, itâ€™s a shorter season, less pay. Like, bro, this – yeah, man, Iâ€™ve got to, no, Iâ€™ve got to get my money. Iâ€™m not playing unless I get mine, OK? And thatâ€™s just the way it is for me. Like Iâ€™m sorry if you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I make is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?â€
Snell was 21-5 with an American League-best 1.86 ERA in 2018, then went 6-6 with a 4.29 ERA last year, when he broke a toe in his right foot on April 14 while moving furniture and missed nearly two months due to left elbow surgery on July 29.
He is due $10.5 million in 2021, $12.5 million in 2022 and $16 million. His mind already is turning to 2021.
Snell’s Twitch stream was posted to Twitter by a person who works with the MLB Network.
â€œIn my head, Iâ€™m preparing for next season. Iâ€™m preparing – well, Iâ€™m actually preparing for right now but as if Iâ€™m preparing for next season. Like itâ€™s super weird, man,â€ Snell said. â€œIâ€™m just saying, man, it just doesnâ€™t make sense for me to lose all of that money and then go play and then be on lockdown, not around my family, not around the people I love and get paid way the hell less, and then the risk of injury runs every time I step on the field. So is itâ€™s, itâ€™s just, itâ€™s not worth it. Itâ€™s not. I love baseball to death. Itâ€™s just not worth it.â€
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