Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell is unwilling to put his physical and financial health in jeopardy to take the mound in a shortened season that would likely include a steep pay cut, he said on Thursday.
Major League Baseball (MLB) and the players union are this week trying to hammer out an agreement for the coronavirus-delayed season to start in early July.
But the proposal offered by owners reportedly includes a 50-50 split of revenues between the league and the players, which would diminish player salaries during a season that would consist of 82 games instead of the usual 162.
Risking my life
Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner, said that was a non-starter. "I'm not splitting no revenue, I want all mine," he said on live streaming platform Twitch. "You're all going to be like, 'Play for the love of the game. What's wrong with you? Money should not be a thing'," he said, echoing a sentiment shared by sports columnists this week. "Bro I'm risking my life. What do you mean it shouldn't be a thing? It 100 percent should be a thing."
Snell, 27, last year signed a five-year, $50 million contract with the Rays that included a $3 million signing bonus. "If I'm going to play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid," he said.
MLB readying 80-page safety proposal
"I should not be getting paid half of what I'm getting paid because the season is cut in half, on top of a 33 percent cut to the half that's already there. "So I'm really getting 25 percent and on top of that, it's getting taxed," he said.
"I'm not playing unless I get mine, okay? That's just the way it is for me." The lefty said he is also concerned about any lasting damage that could come from contracting the novel coronavirus, which has killed almost 84,000 people in the United States.
MLB is readying a detailed, 80-page safety proposal that includes guidelines for testing and protocols in case players or staff test positive for the virus to present to the players. "What if I get the 'rona?" he said. "That damage that was done to my body, that's going to be there forever. I love baseball to death, but it's just not worth it."