Kevin Mather, whose startling comments about cutting duty time, the English skills of foreign-born players and the inner workings of the Seattle Mariners disrupted the baseball industry, has resigned as president- the team’s general manager on Monday, according to club president John Stanton.
Mather, 58, made the comments during a February 5 virtual meeting with the Bellevue, Wash., Rotary Breakfast Club, and they were dug up from YouTube by a Mariners fan on Sunday.
At the end of the day, Mariners’ best prospect Julio Rodriguez tweeted his displeasure with a comment criticizing his bilingual insight, and the strand also resurfaced of the harassment complaints Mather faced as vice president. club executive in 2009 and 2010.
On Monday, his seven-year reign as club president was over.
“His comments were inappropriate and do not reflect the feelings of our organizations towards our players, staff and supporters,” Stanton said in a statement. “There is no apology for what has been said, and I will not try to make one. I offer my sincere apologies on behalf of the club and my partners to our players and fans. We can and must do better.”
Stanton, who took control of the Mariners in 2016, has said he will serve as interim CEO until a successor is chosen.
Stanton said in a video call with news media that Mather tendered his resignation on Monday morning and, although he did not say whether severance pay had been accepted, confirmed Mather was keeping her baby participation in the franchise.
Mathr’s resignation ends a brief but turbulent news cycle after his unusually candid remarks surfaced. Most notably, he admitted that the club have made and will do away with serving time for young players – a maneuver long used but never officially recognized among major league teams – like outfielder Jarred Kelenic and pitcher Logan Gilbert.
“There was no way you were going to see them at T-Mobile Park,” he said of a group of elite prospects who were part of the club’s player pool during the 2020 season. cut short by the pandemic.
The Major League Baseball Players Association. issued a statement calling Mather’s comments a “very disturbing but extremely important window into how players are truly viewed by management. Not only because of what has been said, but also because it represents a look no filtered on club thinking …
“The players remain committed to addressing these issues at the bargaining table and beyond.”
Indeed, Mather’s comments provided an unexpected backdrop to what was already supposed to be contentious negotiations over a new collective agreement; the current deal expires on December 1, and players should look for significant changes to the way they are paid, in a bid to counter the methods of removing service time outlined by Mather.
“I’m glad it’s out there in the crowd now,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said, “and people can see how it is.”
Stanton said Mather would not have been able to determine whether Kelenic or any other player will make the opening roster, those decisions being made by general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais. However, the context of Mather’s comments seemed to suggest that his information came from conversations with people with direct knowledge of those decisions.
Mather has worked for the Mariners in various roles since 1996, joining the Minnesota Twins club. The Mariners haven’t made the playoffs since 2001, the longest playoff drought in major North American sports.
His departure leaves Stanton in a position to mend fences, starting with a Tuesday flight from Seattle to Phoenix, where he plans to meet, at least, Kelenic, Rodriguez and veteran Kyle Seager, who Mather said was “likely overpaid. “as he rambled on about the franchise.
Stanton also spoke twice Monday with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who also had details of a conversation with Mather broadcast at the virtual Rotary Gathering.
“Kevin’s comments did not reflect the values of this organization,” Stanton said. “In terms of building confidence going forward, you build confidence over time, communicating honestly, consistently and doing it in a way that meets both players and fans (expectations).
“The entire commentary reflected a number of views that were inconsistent with the Mariners’ organization.”