Rays ace Blake Snell says he refuses to play for reduced MLB salary

Snell adamant he won't play with pay cut (1:27)

Rays pitcher Blake Snell passionately speaks against playing this season if he has to take a pay cut. (1:27)

Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell says he will not play this season for a reduced salary, especially because the risk of contracting the coronavirus is "just not worth it."

Snell voiced his opposition to Major League Baseball's reported proposal of a 50-50 revenue split with the players for a coronavirus-shortened season in a video posted to social media Wednesday.

"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 his Twitch channel. "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?"

The 50-50 revenue split is included in a plan approved Monday by owners, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan. The MLBPA is expected to reject that element of the proposal and counter that a March agreement between the parties guaranteed players a prorated portion of their salaries.

Snell, who was scheduled to make $7 million in 2020, said that he "love[s] baseball to death" but is unwilling to accept multiple reductions of his salary.

"Bro, I'm risking my life," Snell said. "What do you mean it should not be a thing? It should 100% be a thing. If I'm gonna play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid. I should not be getting half of what I'm getting paid because the season's cut in half, on top of a 33% cut of the half that's already there -- so I'm really getting, like, 25%.

"On top of that, it's getting taxed. So imagine how much I'm actually making to play, you know what I'm saying?"

Rays manager Kevin Cash did not want to talk about Snell's views of the finances but did discuss the medical concerns.

"I guess we all have a right to say what we want to say and believe and feel what we want to believe," Cash said. "But I can assure you that stance of the prioritization of health and safety among everybody affiliated with baseball, and certainly our fans and our communities, and all of the first responders that have been out there working currently through this rough time, we support and continue to support."

Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper said on Twitch that he agreed with Snell.

"He ain't lying. He's right," Harper said. "Hey, he's speaking the truth, bro. 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, man. Guy's a beast, too. One of the best lefties in the game."

Snell later texted the Tampa Bay Times, acknowledging that he realizes his comments on the video could be perceived 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 the others,'' Snell texted to the Times. "I just want everyone to be healthy and get back to our normal lives cause I know I miss mine!"

The former American League Cy Young Award winner also told the Times he would be willing to skip the 2020 season and said the owners' proposal of a revenue split is "is super frustrating because we have way more risk."

Snell emphasized in the video that he is concerned about the long-term health effects of possibly contracting COVID-19, saying the damage to his body is "gonna be there forever."

"I'm just saying, it doesn't make sense for me to lose all of that money and then go play," he said. "And then be on lockdown, not around my family, not around the people I love, and getting paid way the hell less -- and then the risk of injury runs every time I step on the field."

Snell, 27, is entering the second year of a five-year, $50 million deal with the Rays.

MLB met with union officials Tuesday to begin presenting its proposal, but the discussion did not involve player compensation or other economic components, sources familiar with the meeting told ESPN's Jesse Rogers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.