Seattle Mariners president resigns after making disparaging comments about players

Seattle Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather has resigned, president and managing partner John Stanton announced Monday. Mather’s resignation comes after a speech he gave earlier this month, in which he made disparaging remarks about the English-speaking abilities of two club members, spoke openly about manipulating the service time of multiple prospects, and called the longtime team third baseman “overpaid.” online during the weekend.

“Like all of you, I was extremely disappointed when I learned of Kevin Mather’s recent comments,” Stanton said in a statement. “His comments were inappropriate and do not represent our organization’s feelings about our players, staff and fans. There is no excuse for what was said, and I will not attempt to make one.”

Stanton said Mather’s resignation will take effect immediately and that Stanton will assume the roles of president and chief executive officer until Mather’s replacement is found.

Mather had been with the Mariners since 1996 and assumed the roles of president and CEO in 2017.

Kevin Mather
Kevin Mather in 2016.

Otto Greule Jr / Getty

Speaking to the Breakfast Rotary Club of Bellevue, Washington, for an online event on February 5, Mather addressed various topics about the inner workings of the Mariners organization during a 46-minute long discussion.

Speaking about prospect Julio Rodriguez, a CBS Sports No. 2 ranked Dominican outfielder in the Seattle farm system, Mather said “He has a bigger personality than all of you put together. He’s loud. His English isn’t tremendous. Everybody says “He’ll be here in 2021. He won’t be here until 2022 or 2023. A fantastic kid.”

On Sunday, Rodríguez tweeted an image of his face superimposed on Michael Jordan in the documentary series “The Last Dance” that says “… and I took it personally”.

Mather also complained about having to pay for an interpreter for Hisashi Iwakuma, a former Mariners pitcher who was recently hired as a special assignments coach.

“A wonderful human being. His English was terrible,” Mather said. “He wanted to get back into the game. He came to us. Frankly we want him as our Asian scout / performer, what’s going on with the Japanese league. He will come to spring training. And I’m going to say, I’m tired of paying his performer. When he was a player, we paid Iwakuma ‘X’, but we would also have to pay $ 75,000 a year to have an interpreter with him. His English suddenly improved. His English got better when we told him that. ”

Mather also openly admitted that the team decided not to mention top prospects like Jarred Kelenic last season as a way to keep them under the team’s control for a little longer.

“We weren’t going to put them on the 40-man roster, we weren’t going to start the duty time clock,” he said. “There were all kinds of reasons why, if we had an injury problem or COVID-19 bud, you may have seen my big belly in left field. I wouldn’t have seen our prospects playing at T-Mobile Park. “

Mather also called third baseman Kyle Seager, who has spent his entire career with the team, “probably overpaid,” and said he probably wouldn’t be with the team in 2022. Seager’s wife, Julie, responded On twitter asking if they should put their home in Seattle up for sale.

Mather apologized for his comments Sunday, saying he “had no excuse.”

“I want to apologize to all members of the Seattle Mariners organization, especially to our players and to our fans. There is no excuse for my behavior, and I take full responsibility for my terrible misjudgment,” Mather said in a statement. . “My comments were my own. They do not reflect the views or strategy of the Mariners’ baseball leaders, who are responsible for decisions about player development and status at all levels of the organization.”


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