The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 1:00 am


Mariners CEO leaves post

NOAH TRISTER | Associated Press

As far as Anthony Rizzo is concerned, Kevin Mather simply said the quiet part out loud.

Mather, the CEO and president of the Seattle Mariners, resigned Monday after video surfaced of a speech he gave to a Rotary Club this month in which he made insensitive comments about several current and former players.

He also spoke bluntly on a point of contention between teams and players when he said Seattle would likely keep top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert in the minors at the start of the season to delay their right to file for free agency.

The players' association has long complained about the practice. Cubs star Kris Bryant filed and lost a grievance against Chicago alleging the club intentionally manipulated his service time when it kept him in Triple-A for two weeks prior to his major league debut in 2015. Had Bryant been promoted one day earlier, he would have been eligible for free agency a year sooner.

Bryant and the union lost their grievance because it couldn't prove the Cubs acted in bad faith.

“Being in this game, you know what (Mather) said is true to about 99.9%. It happens. It's just not out there and it's just not said,” said Rizzo, Bryant's teammate with the Cubs.

The players' association said in a statement Monday that the video was “a highly disturbing yet critically important window into how players are genuinely viewed by management.”

Mather's speech to the Rotary Club went beyond his thoughts on the service time of Seattle's prospects. He also made comments on players' ability to speak English.

“I'm tired of paying his interpreter,” he said of former pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, who recently rejoined the team as a special assignment coach.

New York Yankees right-hander Luis Severino, who is from the Dominican Republic, said it's great if players can learn to speak more than one language, but it's difficult.

“It's not easy coming to a new country,” Severino said.

New additions

Freddie Freeman isn't reporting with the Atlanta Braves' position players today after the birth of his twin sons. Freeman and wife Chelsea on Sunday used their Twitter accounts to announce the additions of their sons. Their first son, Charlie, was born in 2016.

Trout's burden

Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout spoke candidly about the fact that after three MVP awards, he still hasn't won a postseason game.

“It's definitely weighed on me,” Trout said Monday before the Angels' first full workout of spring training. “I hear it every year. The only way to change that is to get to the playoffs, no matter how that is.”

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