Blake Snell is receiving support from one of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars.
One day after the Tampa Bay Rays left-hander stated it was “not worth the risk” to play this season for anything less than the full $7 million salary he’s owed, Philadelphia Phillies superstar Bryce Harper praised Snell for taking the lead and speaking out.
"He ain't lying, he's speaking the truth bro,” Harper said during a live Twitch stream, courtesy of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I ain't mad at him. Somebody's gotta say it, at least he manned up and said it. Good for him. I love Snell, the guy's a beast. One of the best lefties in the game."
In his comments — which also came during a live Twitch stream — Snell said: “...for me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof. No, I gotta get my money. I'm not playing unless I get mine, OK? And that's just the way it is for me.”
New proposal causes anger
In March, the players agreed to accept prorated salaries based on the number of games played. Clearly, Snell was not on board with that decision. He’s even less pleased now that the owners are seeking a new agreement that would cut their pay even further.
On Monday, the owners approved a new proposal asking the players for a 50-50 revenue split because of the extraordinary circumstances. The proposal also seeks further reduction of the prorated pay because of the projected financial losses that come from a season without fans in the stands.
Union executive director Tony Clark called the proposal a “non-starter” and labeled it another sly attempt to institute a salary cap, for which the players will never agree.
Uphill battle with fans
As for Harper, he has a lot more at stake financially than Snell. The veteran outfielder is in year two of a 13-year, $330 million contract. He’s due to make $27.5 million this season, but could end taking home less than $14 million.
Of course, that’s still a lot of money, which is why Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado thinks comments like those made by Snell won’t gain the players any favor with fans.
I think he was being honest, just being real. He made a lot of good points. There are some points he made that were true, that are facts. A lot of it gets misperceived. Trying to get the public to understand us, it’s not going to work very well in our favor.
We’re baseball players, right? We make great money. Regardless if we don’t make the money we want, we’re still making great money. A lot of people in this world are struggling a lot harder than us. Some people might see him as a complainer. Some people might agree with his views. At the end of the day, he made some points I agree with. But he also made some points where it’s just going to be too hard to get everyone on our side.
While it’s true fans won’t universally accept Snell’s stance, some players aren’t concerned with that aspect given the risks they’ll be taking to get back on the field. The extraordinary circumstances the owners reference don’t just apply to them. This is unique and uncomfortable for everyone.
That said, it’s interesting to hear the differing perspectives players have during this process. If nothing else, it highlights just how difficult it will be to get everyone on the same page.
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