All-Stars Bryce Harper and Nolan Arenado support Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Blake Snell’s position that players would rather sit out than risk playing during the coronavirus pandemic for reduced pay.
“He ain’t lying, he’s speaking the truth bro,” Harper told 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.”
Snell said on his Twitch channel players are taking on all the risk in returning at a time when COVID-19 is still peaking in certain states. MLB owners agreed on terms for a potential start to spring training of mid-June with Opening Day spanning July 1-4, depending on the team’s market.
Players already agreed to accept a prorated portion of their 2020 salaries. An additional reduction without diminishing risk to players on the field tweaked Snell in the Twitch discussion. The 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner is in the second year of a five-year, $50 million deal.
“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,” Snell said while answering questions on Twitch. “It’s a shorter season, less pay. 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. 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?”
Arenado said he understands fans might be miffed at players talking about reducing their pay and still taking home millions.
“I guarantee if you read the comments, you’re probably thinking, ‘You don’t have to work 12 hours a day. You’re not the one without a job. You’re still getting paid.’ Those people have a right to say that,” Arenado told The Athletic.
“I think he was just being honest, just being real. He made a lot of good points,” Arenado said. There are some points he made that were true, that are facts. A lot of it gets misinterpreted. Trying to get the public to understand us, it’s not going to work very well in our favor.”
—Field Level Media