Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell has decided he will sit out this season if the MLB's reduced salary proposal is successful, explaining that the pay cut, coupled with the already prevalent risk of catching the novel coronavirus, is “just not worth it,” he said on social media.
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"For me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof," Snell said. "No, I gotta get my money. I'm not playing unless I get mine, OK?... 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?"
Owners gave the go-ahead Monday for a proposal that players receive the percentage of their 2020 salaries based on a 50-50 split of revenues MLB receives during the regular season and postseason, a person familiar with that plan told the Associated Press earlier this week.
The concept would cut the expenses of teams worried about playing in empty ballparks due to the pandemic. The union views revenue sharing as a salary cap, which it has said it will never agree to, and the concept was not presented.
If empty stadiums or neutral sites are used, an agreement with the players’ association is needed to play ball.
Opening day was to have been March 26.
The 27-year-old, who made his big league debut in 2016, was slated to be paid $7 million in 2020, according to ESPN.
“I'm risking my life," he further explained. “If I'm gonna play, I should be getting 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, on top of a 33 percent cut of the half that's already there – so I'm really getting, like, 25 percent.”
Players agreed on March 26 to a deal in which they would be paid prorated shares of salaries based on the portion of the 162-game regular-season schedule that is played. As part of that agreement, if no games are played they would receive service time for 2020 matching what they earned last year.
Union officials and players have cited the March agreement as setting economic terms and say they have no inclination for additional cuts.
Snell added during the video stream that it did not make sense for him “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 getting paid way the hell less – and then the risk of injury runs every time I step on the field."
MLB’s plan could lead to the season starting around the Fourth of July with an 82-game regular season, playoffs expanding from 10 teams to 14 and the designated hitter used for the first time in games between National League teams.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.