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#pounditTuesday, October 26, 2021

Controversial video of Mariners CEO Kevin Mather goes viral

Kevin Mather

A controversial video of Seattle Mariners CEO and President Kevin Mather went viral on Sunday and has led to all sorts of fallout.

Mather spoke with the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club via video on Feb. 5. The speech, which Mather intended for a private audience, was uploaded to YouTube on Friday and circulated on Twitter Sunday.

In the video, Mather gave his opening remarks before answering questions from the club members. He provided lots of financial background on the team, plans for some players, and offered what appeared to be inside information on many situations.

Mather told the members that the team had a terrible year financially last year, but they were better off than many other teams. He also said they have a favorable TV deal with Root Sports compared to other teams.

He talked about the contract situations for many players and prospects. He shared that outfielder Jared Kelenic turned down a long-term contract extension they offered. He also said that outfielder prospect Julio Rodriguez would not be in the big leagues this season.

Rodriguez seemed upset about that and responded on Twitter.

Mather suggested that some players wouldn’t be with the big club until April. Some people construed the remarks as an admission to player time clock manipulation.

Mather said Kyle Seager is a great Mariners player but also currently overpaid. He shared the team’s mentality and approach to dealing with pitchers Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, whom he expected to lower their asking prices. Paxton wound up signing with the team a week after the speech.

There were some other aspects of Mather’s talk that stood out to some people.

Mather got the name of one of the team’s players wrong.

The executive commenting on Rodriguez’s English not being “tremendous” and complaining about having to pay $75,000 for an interpreter for Hisashi Iwakuma also rubbed some people the wrong way.

Mather was extremely honest and open to the audience and divulged information that the team most likely would not want to be public. For instance, if Mather were speaking with reporters, he probably wouldn’t have shared the type of inside information that he did with the private group. He might be more careful with his remarks in the future.

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