It appears that Twitch has become the new official medium through which MLB stars voice their displeasure with the ongoing negotiations on the 2020 season.
A day after Cy Young award winner and Rays ace Blake Snell broke the internet with his comments on MLB's proposed solution to playing through a shortened season, an even bigger face of Major League Baseball supported Snell's stance.
To preface, Snell was about as direct as one can be on the matter, saying that he simply won't accept a pay cut to play baseball in the unpredictable world of coronavirus. The pay cut in question is layers deep. The prorated salaries that were agreed to in March, which divvy up a player's contract into 162 portions and pay the players per game played, would practically cut a player's expected income if the proposed 82-game season is accepted. On top of that, the league is asking for a 50-50 revenue split with the players to compensate for the possibility that there will never be revenue from ticket sales, parking, concessions and more throughout the season.
"For me to take a pay cut is not happening," Snell said on a Twitch stream. "The risk is through the roof, it's a shorter season, less pay... I'm not playing unless I get mine."
Bryce Harper was told what Snell said by teammate Bryson Stott over his own Twitch stream. As Harper heard Snell's opinion, including that the pitcher was basically risking his life by playing through the season, that the illness would stay with you forever if caught, and that taking a pay cut just wasn't something he'd be willing to do, Harper showed nothing but support.
"He ain't lying," Harper said (via NBC Sports). "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."
Whether or not this means that Harper is taking the same direct stance as Snell, and will refuse to play if the aforementioned proposals are agreed upon, is unknown. However, it doesn't seem that he's particularly keen to the idea of playing during the pandemic given the potential health concerns and the fact that he'd be taking this risk while being paid less.
There have been mixed reactions throughout social media to comments like those of Snell and Harper. CBS Sports Radio host Damon Amendolara acknowledged that the owners could be viewed as walking back on their prior agreement by saying they need to reduce player salaries even more. However, he doesn't agree with what the players are arguing overall.
"The players' reasonings for not coming back are starting to trickle out and they're bad!" Amendolara said on The D.A. Show. "Blake Snell is saying 'I'm not going to risk my life for less than my salary.' It's bad because you're telling me that life and death has a price tag.
"I hope, if there are players who are feeling uncomfortable who don't like this, there's a better reason behind it and they vocalize that. Because at this moment, it's bad..."
Harper was set to earn just over $27.5 million in his second season in Philly (via Spotrac). With an 82-game season, that number would be around $13.7 million at the most, with the possibility of more getting removed if a 50-50 revenue split and other adjustments are put into motion to get the 2020 season underway.
Of course, if he and Snell are serious about their remarks, they could stand to make nothing at all.