morning afternoon, Athletics Nation!
The latest baseball scandal is in, and this time it involves Seattle Mariners President and CEO Kevin Mather. A video released over the weekend showed nearly an hour of Mather doing a Q&A session with the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club, during which time he made a wide range of offensive statements that upset ... basically everybody.
Update: Mather resigned his position with the Mariners, per a statement by team chairman and managing partner John Stanton.
SB Nation Mariners site Lookout Landing posted a full transcript of Mather’s comments, which were insulting in all kinds of different ways to a list of players including Marco Gonzales, Mitch Haniger, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez, and Kyle Seager. Jeff Passan of ESPN offered this summary:
Over the course of a 45-minute chat to a local Rotary Club in early February, Seattle Mariners CEO Kevin Mather disparaged a Japanese player for not learning English, belittled a star prospect from the Dominican Republic for his language skills and derided another top prospect while admitting to manipulating his service time. He called his team’s best pitcher “very boring” and embellished the pitcher’s actions in a clubhouse incident, told another falsehood about a well-respected veteran and complained that the franchise’s best player over the past decade was “overpaid.”
Any one of these blunders is incalculably foolish. Together, they expose pathological levels of arrogance, hubris and myopia.
Mather eventually issued an apology, in which he attempted to distance the team from the the things he’d said — of particular importance since he more or less admitted to service-time manipulation of Kelenic.
Mariners fans are not happy. They’ve already had to endure two decades without a playoff berth, the longest active streak in the majors, so confidence in the team was low to begin with. To see their club’s top executive take a proverbial dump all over his players is just the latest heartbreak for a fan base whose SB Nation site logo was already a sad guy sitting alone on a bench.
I have seen Mad Mariners Fans before, in force. Nothing like the stories coming into the account tonight. Angry. Betrayed. Heartbroken. People are at the end of their ropes to begin with and one thing they had to look forward to is now, for many, tainted or ruined.— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) February 22, 2021
Local NBCS inside reporter weighs in
Why do the Mariners always insist on making it as hard as possible to be a Mariners fan?— Joe Fann (@Joe_Fann) February 22, 2021
Further analysis from Lookout Landing
Heads up: it is a Bad Sign that Mather is being allowed to make an official statement before the Mariners do.— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) February 22, 2021
That would point to him keeping his job, and the Mariners being complicit in rehabbing his image.
That is unacceptable.
One former teammate stuck up for Seager
Kyle Seager is a professional on and off the field. He Takes the younger players under his wing and shows them the rope. Hell, he even helped out the pitchers! You want him in your clubhouse— Sam Tuivailala (@Stuivailala) February 22, 2021
Update: Stanton’s statement about Mather’s resignation, including a note that Stanton will take over as acting President & CEO.
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Taijuan Walker gets 2yr/$20m from the Mets, with a player option for a third year
Walker gets $10M in 2021, $7M in 2022. 2023 player option that starts at $6M with escalators can get to $8.5M or $3M buyout on the player option. #Mets All of this is pending a physical.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) February 19, 2021
I have a shocking news bulletin and I’m gonna need you to sit down for this but Brett Gardner stayed with the Yankees for his 14th straight season in the Bronx
Gardy gets $4M guarantee with Yankees. 1 year plus option.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 19, 2021
The A’s final free agent finds a home for 2021
Speaking of former A’s, Tyson Ross is back in action after sitting out 2020
Tyson Ross is back with the Rangers. He signed a minor league contract. But he's not in major league camp. He will work out with rehabbing pitchers after not pitching in 2020— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) February 19, 2021
Another former Athletic, who played six games for Oakland in 2017
#Indians have signed 33yr old (C) Ryan Lavarnway to a minor league contract w/ invite to Spring Training.— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) February 19, 2021
Former All-Star looking to keep rolling at age 35
Source: Pirates have agreement with 1B/3B Todd Frazier to minor league contract, pending physical. He'll make $1.5M if he makes the team.— RobBiertempfel (@RobBiertempfel) February 19, 2021
It’s a minor league deal, not an uncommon occurrence for pitchers the year after they play for the Angels
Julio Teheran to Tigers— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 20, 2021
Another minors deal for a veteran pitcher, this time joining the AL West instead of leaving
Ian Kennedy has signed a Minor League deal with the Rangers, per source. He can earn $2.15 million plus performance bonuses if he makes the team.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 22, 2021
Roe’s slider is the one Jake Diekman modeled his own new grip after last year
Another reliever signing
I’m told that the Giants and Japanese RH Shun Yamaguchi are in agreement on a deal - a split major-league/minor league contract seems most likely.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 20, 2021
Can’t help but feel the A’s are partially responsible for this
Trevor Gott is the surprise #SFGiants DFA to clear roster space for Aaron Sanchez.— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) February 21, 2021
Best of Twitter
Get well soon, Vogter!
Torey Lovullo said he FaceTimed with Stephen Vogt, who is out after a positive COVID-19, yesterday and Vogt was practicing his putting in his kitchen.— Zach Buchanan (@ZHBuchanan) February 20, 2021
Looks like we can put this obvious non-story to rest
#Dodgers Clayton Kershaw: "I have no intentions of hanging them up. ... I feel like I have a few years left in the tank."— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) February 21, 2021
Desmond opts out for the second straight year
Ian Desmond has announced that he is opting out of the 2021 season “for now.” pic.twitter.com/fZXTRrufjY— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) February 21, 2021
Hubbard was the second baseman on the A’s 1988 World Series team, and Conrad played six games for the 2008 A’s
Allow us to introduce you to our new coaching staff:— Columbia Fireflies (@ColaFireflies) February 19, 2021
Manager: Brooks Conrad
Pitching Coach: Carlos Martinez
Pitching Coach: Jesus Azuaje
Extra Coach: Glenn Hubbard
Learn more about our 2021 coaching staff online here: https://t.co/Loxv4tBBD3 pic.twitter.com/Vdg1af6sqQ
The sound of spring!