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#pounditTuesday, April 13, 2021

Articles tagged: Kevin Mather

Ex-MVP Josh Donaldson shares why he is happy about Kevin Mather comments

Josh Donaldson

Kevin Mather went viral on Sunday for comments he gave during a meeting with a Rotary Club in Washington, and his careless honesty ended up costing him his job. Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson is actually appreciative of Mather for sharing all the information.

Donaldson, who won AL MVP with Toronto in 2015 and is entering his second season with the Minnesota Twins, tweeted a statement Monday about Mather. He said he was sincerely grateful for Mather’s honesty.

What are the statements Mather shared publicly that everyone knew but never had full proof of? Likely the service time manipulation used by clubs.

Top players have filed grievances over being kept in the minor leagues too long. Players lose those grievances. Kris Bryant was a recent example of this happening and blasted MLB over it. Over and over we see teams keep top young prospects in the minors for what seems to be unnecessary lengths of time. The clubs all use excuses like “the player needs to work on his defense” or something else, before being promoted. Then, magically, the same player who was not good enough to be on the roster for Opening Day, gets called up in late April, when it will allow the team to keep the player for an extra year before they hit free agency.

It’s a stupid game that we all know happens, but it is nearly impossible to prove. Now with Mather’s comments, there is direct proof of this. Mather literally said that the fans would see one Mariners pitcher in April, but in the middle of the month, not at the start of the season. He said clearly that his plan for outfielder Julio Rodriguez was to keep him in the minors for 2021. And he admitted that none of the team’s top prospects were going to get called up last year, no matter what!

One of the biggest issues with MLB is that free agency is structured so that teams are NOT incentivized to open the season with their best prospects on the active MLB roster. Instead, they are incentivized to wait a few weeks before calling up the player, so that they retain an extra year of team control for that player before said player can enter free agency. It’s a bad system that all teams take advantage of, although the Padres recently bucked the trend and were rewarded.

The system needs to be changed. The problem is twofold though: MLB teams will always work to find loopholes in rules that will help them. Two, if an MLB team says they want a prospect to work on some skill before bringing them up, it’s very hard to argue with their development strategy. It’s not as if players don’t need development; they do. But it’s so obvious what a club is doing when a player who was tearing up spring training like Bryant gets sent down to the minors for only three weeks before getting called up.

Mariners chairman tries to downplay Kevin Mather’s service time comments

Kevin Mather

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.

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.

Kevin Mather resigns at president and CEO of Mariners

Kevin Mather

The Seattle Mariners issued a statement on Monday announcing that Kevin Mather has resigned as president and CEO of the organization.

Mather’s resignation comes a day after a video of his controversial comments about the team went viral. Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton said Monday that he is “extremely disappointed” and reiterated that Mather’s views do not represent those of the organization.

Stanton says he will serve as president and CEO until a successor is chosen.

Mather gave inside information about the Mariners during a video chat with the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club on Feb. 5. The video, which was not uploaded to YouTube until Sunday, featured him discussing Seattle’s financial situation, contract talks with various players, and short and long-term plans for many of the team’s prospects.

Mather ended up getting one of the team’s player’s name wrong; saying a prospect wouldn’t be called up this year and that the prospect’s English wasn’t great; divulging plans about Kyle Seager; and saying that he didn’t like paying a salary for one of the team’s former pitcher’s translators.

He issued an apology (read it here), but it was obviously too late.

Mariners CEO Kevin Mather apologizes in statement for comments on video

Kevin Mather

Seattle Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather issued a statement of apology on Sunday night after a video featuring his comments to a local rotary club went viral earlier in the day.

Mather visited with the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club on Feb. 5, though the video wasn’t uploaded to YouTube until Friday. Contents of the video started to spread online Sunday.

In the video, Mather gave inside information to the club members on the Mariners’ financial situation, contract talks with various players, and short and long-term plans for many of the team’s prospects.

Mather talked like he was just having a beer with some friends at a bar. He ended up getting one of the team’s player’s name wrong; saying a prospect wouldn’t be called up this year and that the prospect’s English wasn’t great; divulging plans about Kyle Seager; and saying that he didn’t like paying a salary for one of the team’s former pitcher’s translators.

All of that culminated in Mather’s statement of apology.

Mather tried to say that his comments didn’t represent the team’s views and strategies, which is hard to believe since he’s the CEO. He also said he spent a lot of time trying to smooth out things out and apologize to those he upset with his comments.

Mather just got too candid in his meeting and got burned when his comments went public. It remains to be seen whether he keeps his position with the team.

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.