Blake Snell on Proposed Revenue Sharing: 'I'm Not Playing Unless I Get Mine'

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIIMay 14, 2020

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros in the first inning during Game 2 of a best-of-five American League Division Series baseball game in Houston, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell is ready to remain on the sidelines this year if MLB owners continue to push for revenue-sharing with the players.

While chatting on his Twitch stream, Snell told his followers anyone who thinks money shouldn't be a factor in returning to play isn't fully thinking the situation through.

"I'm risking my life," Snell said. " ... It 100 percent should be a thing."

MLB owners approved a proposal requiring all clubs to split revenue 50-50 with the MLB Players Association in a shortened season and will now look for player support to strike a deal. MLBPA executive director Tony Clark has already said revenue sharing is a nonstarter.

Snell is in agreement.

"For me to take a pay cut is not happening," Snell said. "Because the risk is through the roof. It's a shorter season. ... No, I've got to get my money. I'm not playing unless I get my mine."

Snell is hardly the first pitcher to voice that opinion. Cincinnati Reds hurler Trevor Bauer was just as incensed Wednesday over MLB's proposal, which Clark said amounted to a money grab under the cover of a global health crisis. Bauer vented in a video he posted to YouTube (h/t the Cincinnati Enquirer's Dave Clark):

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"The ask is basically take more risk by getting back sooner and take less pay than we've already agreed. We've already agreed to take ... 50 percent pay cut and now they're asking us to take another pay cut. [A 50-50 revenue split] has never been done in baseball. It's not collectively bargained. It would just be for this season. It doesn't sit well with me. Slightly lighthearted, but if I'm gonna have to trust my salary to Rob Manfred marketing the game to make more money for the game, I am out on that."

As Snell described it, players have already negotiated lower salaries this season as part of their deal with MLB shortly after the league went on hiatus. Now, he said MLB would be trying to take half of what remains from the players.

"It doesn't make sense for me 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 get paid way the hell less," Snell said. "And then the risk of injury runs every time I step on the field. It's just not worth it. It's not. I love baseball to death. It's just not worth it."

MLB feels differently. Per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich:

"The agreement between the MLB and the MLBPA in March outlining how the sport would proceed amidst the pandemic included the provision that players will be paid based on the number of games played. But the document also provided for the possibility of a discussion about the 'economic feasibility' of starting games in instances where there are no fans, giving the owners an opening to say they will not play unless the economics are revised."

Snell and Bauer are two prominent names in baseball, and both have a wide reach with different audiences. They're getting their message out while MLB owners continue to hope for a revised deal with the union.