Clayton Kershaw responded to Blake Snell’s comments about weighing pay reductions with health risks in trying to play the 2020 season.
Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw hasn’t been shy in sharing his opinions about MLB proposals for the 2020 season. After Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell made headlines this week in criticizing the latest revenue sharing plan, Kershaw stood behind his fellow union member.
“[Snell] was probably a little bold in what he said, but we’ve already made a pay concession,” Kershaw said on the Dan Patrick Show on Friday. “We’re going to get paid prorated based on the season—we play 81 games, we are going to get half our pay. We agreed to that already, and I know guys kind of thought that was what we decided as a union. Obviously, with no fans, it changes things for some owners, but we’re still playing the same game.”
Under the latest MLB proposal presented in parts to the player’s union this week, the owners are seeking a 50/50 revenue share for the 2020 season. The players believe this is a further cut to an already agreed upon reduction in pay made in March that would see their salaries pro-rated based on the number of games played this season.
The owners, who don’t provide full access to their accounting books, believe they will lose close to $4 billion if a season is cancelled, according to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
Despite the pay concerns, Kershaw sounded optimistic that a business deal could be worked out if it is safe enough to return to the baseball diamond. The Cy Young Award winning pitcher doesn’t believe a large number of players would sit out due to health concerns.
“If it deems medically that we’re able to play and we can’t figure out the business side of it, between the two sides, it’s not going to look good on anybody,” Kershaw said. “If we do figure it out medically, I’m pretty optimistic that we can play.”
Snell voiced his frustration with the revenue split during a Twitch stream this week. The 27-year-old left-hander believes it is unfair to ask players to receive even less pay than they had already agreed to forfeit considering the risks associated with playing in the midst of a global pandemic.
“Bro, I’m risking my life,” Snell said [H/T ESPN]. “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%.”
Another star player, Bryce Harper, addressed Snell’s comments on his Twitch channel this week.
“He ain’t lying. He’s right,” Harper said [H/T ESPN]. “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.”
Obviously, both the players and owners have financial interests to play this season, but there are important factors to weigh in returning to the field.
As social distancing restrictions are being eased in a patchwork fashion across the country, MLB will need to decide how to manage the safety of players and team personnel before returning to action, as revenue considerations hang over the entire decision.