Mariners chairman tries to downplay Kevin Mather’s service time comments
The Seattle Mariners are still doing damage control over former president Kevin Mather’s comments about the team and players, with one issue in particular causing trouble for the organization.
In Mather’s remarks to the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club on Feb. 5, he said there was “no chance” the Mariners would call up top prospects in 2020 because they “weren’t going to start the service time clock.” This was seen by many as an admission of service time manipulation — a practice that is an open secret in MLB, but is never admitted to by teams.
After Mather’s resignation on Monday, Mariners chairman John Stanton tried to clean up the remarks by deflecting responsibility on callups to GM Jerry DiPoto and manager Scott Servais.
Asked about the idea of service time manipulation being an issue with Jared Kelenic, Mariners chairman John Stanton said GM Jerry Dipoto, the baseball operations department and manager Scott Servais will make the ultimate decision as to when Kelenic will be in the Majors.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 22, 2021
There’s not much Stanton can say here. The Mariners will hold back the likes of Jarred Kelenic because they want an extra year of team control. In the past, players just couldn’t prove that because executives were smart enough to not openly admit to that. Mather did, and it’s hard for the organization to put that genie back in the bottle now.
One thing is for sure: Kris Bryant probably wishes he’d been able to cite remarks like this in the grievance case he lost.