Blake Snell, star pitcher of the Tampa Bay Rays, is putting his foot down: No pay, no play.
The Cy Young Award winner said in a Twitch broadcast Wednesday he wouldn’t return to play baseball amid the coronavirus pandemic unless the money’s worth it.
“I’m not playing unless I get mine,” said Snell. “That’s just the way it is for me. Like, I’m sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way … higher and the amount of money I’m making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?”
The comments come as rumors swirl about a plan approved by MLB owners that would halve the amount of money players would make for the season – in a 50-50 revenue split with owners, ESPN reported.
Snell, 27, was scheduled to make $7 million this season alone. Though some have said players should play for the love of the game, Snell disagreed, saying the risk was too high for everyone on the field.
“You all gotta understand. Cause you all are going to be like, ‘Blake, play for the love of the game – what’s wrong with you? The money should not be a thing.’ Bro. I am risking my life,” he said.
“And then be on lockdown, not around my family, not around the people I love, and getting paid way the hell less,” he continued. “And then the risk of injury runs every time I step on the field. So it’s just, just not worth it. It’s not. I love baseball to death, it’s just not worth it.”
In text messages to the Tampa Bay Times, Snell defended his comments, though he said he understood that some may perceive his ideas as greedy.
“I mean, honestly, it’s just scary to risk my life to get COVID-19 as well as not knowing and spreading it to others,” he told the Times. “I just want everyone to be healthy and get back to our normal lives, ‘cause I know I miss mine!”
He also called attempts by MLB owners to reduce player salaries “frustrating” because players have more risk, he said.
CNN reached out to the Rays and Snell’s agency for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.