St. Louis Cardinals: Blake Snell delivers imperfect message

Blake Snell should be upset with MLB owners for going back on their agreement. His delivery, no pun intended, could use practice, but the content behind his message is strong. St. Louis Cardinals fans need to listen to his thoughts. 

On Wednesday night, Tampa Bay Rays All-Star southpaw Blake Snell was live on Twitch and shared his thoughts on the shortened MLB season, the players vs. owners battle for revenue, and performing during the COVID-19 breakout season.

When asked about Snell’s comments yesterday, Philadelphia’s Bryce Harper simply remarked, “Somebody’s gotta say it.”

Here’s the video of Blake Snell’s thoughts:

It is hard not to blame Snell for being upset with what the MLB owners are doing. The players already agreed to prorated salaries based on a per-game basis, yet the owners want to make up for potential losses, such as fan attendance revenue. Craig Edwards on FanGraphs cites how Major League owners profit from large TV revenues and the $2M BAMTech deal.

At first glance, Snell’s remarks about risking his life to play baseball sound exaggerated. Playing baseball in an empty stadium is nothing when compared to the doctors or nurses who directly assist patients diagnosed with COVID-19. However, the players, plus Major League staff, do increase their risk of exposure through extensive travel and being in the public.

Given the unpredictability of the current pandemic, the health and safety of players, coaches, umpires, etc. should take precedence over monetary concerns. Our very own Andrew Miller had a fantastic quote in ESPN’s Jesse Rogers’ story regarding the health and compensation for baseball players this year.

I don’t think anything can be done until that [safety] can be guaranteed and we feel comfortable with it,” executive board member and St. Louis Cardinals reliever Andrew Miller told ESPN. “We want to put a good product on the field, but that’s totally secondary to the health of the players. We are generally younger and healthier, but that doesn’t mean our staff is, that doesn’t mean the umpires are going to be in the clear.

It is easy for the common baseball fan to call the owners greedy and leave it at that, but the baseball players cannot get off scot-free. Before I get into that, here’s a math lesson from Jeff Passan that Blake Snell should consider.

Blake Snell is in year two of a 5-year/$50M deal with Tampa Bay, where he is expected to make a base salary of $7M. A 50% cut to that salary would leave him with $3.5M, and a 33% cut of that would leave Snell with 1.155M before taxes. For him to say he “ain’t making s***” could be viewed as a slap to the face, especially when so many people in the United States have filed for unemployment.

As the battle between MLB and the MLBPA continues, I have a couple of questions for Cardinal Nation to consider:

  1. Do we want to have young players like Dylan Carlson miss a full season of baseball because players like Blake Snell won’t get their full salary?
  2. Jack Flaherty has the potential to be a 2020 Cy Young winner. How would you feel if we lost this season to see his rise to stardom because the billionaire owners and millionaire players cannot agree on money?

Blake Snell, and the rest of the players, should be upset with MLB owners for trying to institute revenue-sharing measures not agreed upon in March. It is the players, coaches, and other Major League staff who are more at-risk for going out during a global pandemic. Yet instead of live-streaming on Twitch, perhaps Snell should find another channel to share his message.

Next: What if the Cardinals were members of The Avengers?

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