Rays ace Blake Snell says he refuses to play for reduced MLB salary
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Rays ace Blake Snell says he refuses to play for reduced MLB salary

By Tommy Fradenburg

Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local | See @tommyfradenburg

When Major League Baseball announced its new plan for a Coronavirus-shortened season; one part of the proposal was bound to be a sticking point.

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The plan includes a stipulation that would further cut players’ salaries by splitting revenue with the owners; and wouldn’t be the first pay cut they’d been subjected to. The MLB Players’ Association is expected to reject that part of MLB’s proposal; with former Cy Young Winner Blake Snell making his opinions very clear.

 “For me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof,” he said on a Twitch stream.

“I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, OK? 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?”

Giving Ground

Snell won’t rile up much pity, given that his significant pay reduction comes from an eight-figure salary rather than a five-figure one, but he does have some solid arguments.

First of all, the player’s have already agreed to a pay-cut back in March; agreeing to a prorated salary depending on the number of games played. Now MLB owners are asking their players to agree to a 50/50 percent revenue split in a season where not much revenue is expected to be generated without fans attending games.

Second, as Snell mentions, is the risk factor.

Even though commissioner Rob Manfred said play won’t return with any government restrictions on travel and mass gatherings; it is still the players who will have to do the actual traveling and breaking social distancing practices. When the risk being ran is as avoidable as staying home; its easy to see why another payout isn’t seen as an option for some players.

A final point comes down to simple fairness: should the millionaire players face further reductions to bail out their billionaire owners over circumstances out of either parties control.

“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% cut of the half that’s already there — so I’m really getting, like, 25%,” he said.

Proposal Specifics

The payment structure is just one part of MLB-approved plan for a 2020 MLB season.

Another issue the league addressed is a return date and schedule length. Under the plan teams would report to their second edition of “Spring Training,” starting in June; with first pitch of the regular season coming in early July.

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It would reduce the amount of regular season games in half, from the usual 162 down to 80; and expand the playoff field from 10 to 14 teams.

With the MLPBA likely to submit a counter-proposal to the owners over how the season should commence, it will be interesting to see which side blinks first when it comes to money.

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