Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Blake Snell ruffled some feathers earlier this week when he said during a Twitch stream that returning to play for anything less than his full salary would not be worth it given the risk of COVID-19. But not everyone was upset.
Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper said during a Twitch stream of his own that he agrees with Snell's thought process.
"What did Snell say earlier on his stream, do you know?" Harper asked a friend on his stream.
When a paraphrased version of Snell's comments was relayed, Harper had this to say:
"He ain't lying, he's right. He's speaking the truth bro. I ain't mad at him. Somebody's got to say it, at least he manned up and said it. Good for him. I love Snell, the guy's a beast. One of the best lefties in the game."
Snell's comments came after multiple reports circulated earlier this week that MLB was planning to propose a revenue sharing salary structure for this season if play were to return, which would likely pay players less than a previous agreement in March guaranteeing players their full salary relative to games played. With much talk surrounding the possibility of a season somewhere in the 80-game range, the arrangement in place would pay players approximately half of their guaranteed salary.
"Y'all got to understand, man, for me to go — for me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof. No, I've got to get my money. I'm not playing unless I get mine, okay? And that's just the way it is for me. Like, I'm sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I'm making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?" Snell said.
“If I’m going to play, I should be at the money I signed to be getting paid. I should not be getting half of what I’m getting paid because the season’s cut in half, all on top of a 33 per cent cut of the half that’s already there, so I’m really getting like 25 per cent. On top of that, it’s getting taxed. So imagine how much I’m actually making to play, you know what I’m saying? Like, I ain’t making [expletive]. And on top of that, so all of that money’s gone and now I play risking my life.”
Snell is entering the second season of a five-year, $50 million deal that would have seen him make $7 million in 2020. If the players union and MLB stick to the prorated salary arrangement, Snell would make somewhere in the neighbourhood of $3.5 million if half a regular season is played.
MLBPA head Tony Clark has been quick to shoot down the possibility of the players accepting a revenue sharing agreement. Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday night on CNN that he is confident the league and the players will work out a deal for the framework of a possible 2020 season to proceed.
Opening Day was originally scheduled for March 26 before the coronavirus pandemic pushed back the season indefinitely.