Major League Baseball is working on plans to start the 2020 season, but count Tampa Bay Rays star pitcher Blake Snell out unless he is paid in full.
Aside from safety amid the coronavirus pandemic, one of the biggest obstacles toward starting the season is the players’ payment.
In late March, MLB and the players’ association agreed to a deal in which the players would be paid prorated shares of their salaries based on the portion of the 162-game season that is actually played.
Teams now say if games are played without fans in empty ballparks they will lose money and owners are now asking for a 50-50 split in revenue.
Snell is adamant that he will not pick up a baseball if he is not getting everything that was already agreed upon.
"I'm not splitting no revenue. I want all mine," Snell said on a Twitch stream. "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 per cent should be a thing.”
The 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner added: "Y’all gotta understand, man, for me to go, for me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof, it’s a shorter season less pay.
"I gotta 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 the amount of money I'm making is way lower, why would I think about doing that? Like you know, I’m just, I'm sorry."
Entering the second year of a five-year, $50million deal, Snell was originally scheduled to make $7million in 2020. He is coming off a disappointing 2019, in which he went 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA in 23 starts while spending two months on the injured list after going 21-5 with a league-leading 1.89 ERA in 2018.
While the money is Snell's biggest argument for not playing, the left-hander did also voice concern over his health and the still many unknowns surrounding the coronavirus.
“If I get the ’rona [coronavirus], guess what happens with that? Oh, yeah, that stays - that's in my body forever. The damage that was done to my body, that’s going to be there forever. So now I got to play with that on top of that.
"So, y'all got to - I mean - you'all got to understand, man, for to go, for me to take a pay cut is not happening because the risk is through the roof, it's a shorter season, less pay.
"Like, bro, this - yeah, man, I’ve got to, no, I’ve got to 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 if you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I make is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?”