Recently, Tampa Bay Rays ace and former Cy Young award winner Blake Snell faced off against several other players around Major League Baseball in the MLB The Show Players League and came out on top.
However, he's now engaged in quite a different standoff, not against the players but the owners of Major League Baseball, and this battle seems like it will be much more difficult for him to win.
This argument, of course, is centered around player contracts and salaries as we enter the unknown situation regarding how the 2020 MLB season will play out. An agreement made in March between the owners and players set terms that players would be paid their salaries on a prorated basis, based on the number of games the league was able to fit in throughout the season. It's become widely suspected that a 162-game season is off the radar, and an 82-game season has recently been proposed by the owners. This means that, at the most, players would make about half their salary if they were healthy enough to be active for every game, while there would be some pretty odd fallout involving unexpected players becoming the biggest beneficiaries.
On top of that, the league will ask players to agree to a 50-50 revenue split between the two parties as a safety net, in case revenue is lower than expected throughout the season based on a number of factors. All of these hypotheticals and potential reductions in wages did not sit well with Snell, who was as direct as he could possibly be with his thoughts over a Twitch stream.
"For me to take a pay cut is not happening," Snell said. "The risk is through the roof, it's a shorter season, less pay... I'm not playing unless I get mine.
"The risk is way... higher and the amount of money I'm making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?"
Snell went so far as to say that he would be risking his life, and while all players may not go so far as to echo this sentiment, it's certainly a feeling that has been shared throughout the league.
In an interview with ESPN, Yankees catcher and MLBPA board member Chris Iannetta stated that players should be "fairly compensated" for risking their health and safety when the situation isn't even deemed safe enough for fans to be in the stands.
"We want to put a good product on the field, but that's totally secondary to the health of the players," said Cardinals reliever Andrew Miller, supporting Iannetta's views that they would be taking a risk "for the betterment of the game and the betterment of the owners who stand to make a huge profit."
Snell went on to describe that mentally, he's preparing for next season -- as in the 2021 season -- and that though he "loves baseball to death", the risk isn't worth the reward in this situation. Some on Twitter have responded to his rant with anger, as Snell would still likely make millions of dollars as compared to the financial struggles that are plaguing the nation right now. However, others support his opinion, as players could view the situation as unjust relative to the situation the owners find themselves in.
His full rant is available here (warning: expletive language).