ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay Rays All-Star pitcher Blake Snell says he will not take the mound this year if his pay is cut further, proclaiming: “I’m not playing unless I get mine.”
“I’m not splitting no revenue. I want all mine,” the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner said on a Twitch stream Wednesday. “Bro, y’all got to understand, too, because y’all going to be like: ‘Bro, play for the love of the game. Man, what’s wrong with you, bro? Money should not be a thing.’ Bro, I’m risking my life. What do you mean, ‘It should not be a thing?’ It 100% should be a thing.”
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 players’ 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.
“If I’m going to play, I should be at the money I signed to be getting paid,” Snell said. “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% cut of the half that’s already there, so I’m really getting like 25%. 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.”
Rays manager Kevin Cash did not want to talk about Snell’s views of the finances.