Kevin Mather has resigned from his position as president and CEO of the Mariners, effective immediately, the team announced on Monday.
Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton released a statement that read as follows:
“Like all of you, I was extremely disappointed when I learned of Kevin Mather’s comments. His comments were inappropriate and do not represent our organization’s feelings about our players, staff and fans.
“There is no excuse for what he said, and I won’t try to make one. I offer my sincere apology on behalf of the club and my partners to our players and fans. We must be, and do, better.”
Mather had issued an apology on Sunday night after he was criticized for remarks he made during a Zoom call with a local rotary club on Feb. 5 that surfaced earlier in the day.
In the 46-minute clip, which was released via the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club’s YouTube page and has since been deleted, Mather openly discussed numerous sensitive topics relating to the organization’s direction and made pointed remarks about various players.
In his comments, Mather spoke highly of No. 2 prospect Julio Rodríguez as a player and a person, but noted that his grasp of English is “not tremendous,” and Rodríguez, who is from the Dominican Republic, responded on Twitter on Sunday indicating that he took offense. Mather also discussed how the language barrier affected former All-Star pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma — who has since rejoined the club as a special assignment coach — and he expressed frustration in having to pay Iwakuma’s translator during the right-hander’s six seasons in Seattle.
Mather said that the club recently offered No. 1 prospect Jarred Kelenic a long-term contract, which Kelenic declined. The soon-to-be left fielder with face-of-the-franchise potential expressed many times over the past two years that he is Major League-ready, and his agents have bristled at the Mariners’ public notion that Kelenic needs more Minor League development.
“We offered him a long-term deal, six-year deal for substantial money with options to go farther,” said Mather. “After pondering it for several days and talking to the union, he’s turned us down and in his words, he’s going to bet on himself. He thinks after six years, he’ll be such a star player that the seventh-, eighth-, ninth-year options will be under value. He might be right, he might be right, we offered and he turned us down.”