- The Washington Times
Monday, February 22, 2021

Seattle Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather resigned from his position Monday, the team announced.

Mather had been under fire after comments he made at a Rotary Club earlier this month went viral. In that conversation with the local Rotary Club, Mather admitted to service time manipulation for prospects and criticized two members of the organization for their English-speaking proficiency, among other topics.

Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton will serve as the active president and CEO until a successor is chosen.

“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 won’t try to make one. I offer my sincere apology on behalf of the club and my partners to our players and fans. We must be, and do, better.”

Mather spoke to a Rotary Club in Bellevue, Washington, on Feb. 5. The video was posted on YouTube this weekend but has since been deleted. Mariners blog Lookout Landing has a transcript of the event.

“I want to apologize to every member of the Seattle Mariners organization, especially our players and to our fans,” Mather said in a statement. “There is no excuse for my behavior, and I take full responsibility for my terrible lapse in judgment.”

“I’ve been on the phone most of the day today apologizing to the many people I have insulted, hurt, or disappointed in speaking at a recent online event,” Mather continued. “I am committed to make amends for the things I said that were personally hurtful and I will do whatever it takes to repair the damage I have caused to the Seattle Mariners organization.”

Mather spoke about former Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, who was hired in January by Seattle to become a special assignment coach. Mather said he told Iwakuma the club was tired of paying for his interpreter.

“When he was a player, we’d pay Iwakuma ‘X,’ but we’d also have to pay $75,000 a year to have an interpreter with him,” Mather said. “His English suddenly got better. His English got better when we told him that.”

In addition, Mather brought up outfielder Julio Rodriguez, a highly ranked prospect in the Seattle system.

“Julio Rodriguez has got a personality bigger than all of you combined,” Mather said. “He is loud. His English is not tremendous.”

Mather also said longtime third baseman Kyle Seager was “overpaid” despite calling him a future Mariners Hall of Famer.

And Mather spoke on major league service time manipulation, saying prospects Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert likely wouldn’t be with the Mariners when the season began so they wouldn’t accrue service time, delaying their free agency opportunities.

“My comments were my own,” Mather’s statement read. “They do not reflect the views and strategy of the Mariners baseball leadership who are responsible for decisions about development and status of the players at all levels of the organization.”

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