SEATTLE — Seattle Mariners CEO Kevin Mather has resigned after video surfaced of him expressing his views about some players and club operations.
Mariners Chairman John Stanton says Mather’s comments were inappropriate and do not represent the views of the franchise. Mather’s resignation is effective immediately. Stanton will take on the roles of CEO and team president on an interim basis.
Mather issued an apology for his comments, which were made Feb. 5 to the Bellevue, Washington, Breakfast Rotary Club and were posted online over the weekend.
The Major League Baseball Players Association issued a statement Monday where they called the video of Mather's "highly disturbing."
"The Club's video presentation is a highly disturbing yet critically important window into how Players are genuinely viewed by management. Not just because of what was said, but also because it represents an unfiltered look into Club thinking,'' the statement read. "It is offensive, and it is not surprising that fans and others around the game are offended as well. Players remain committed to confronting these issues at the bargaining table and elsewhere.''
In the video, Mather spoke to the Rotary Club about various players and the way the team would manipulate service time for young players.
Mather spoke about former Mariners pitcher and current special assignment coach for the club Hisashi Iwakuma and his need for an English translator.
"For instance, we just rehired Iwakuma; he was a pitcher with us for a number of years. Wonderful human being; his English was terrible," Mather said. "He wanted to get back into the game; he came to us. We quite frankly want him as our Asian scout/interpreter, what's going on with the Japanese league. He's coming to spring training.
"And I'm going to say, I'm tired of paying his interpreter. When he was a player, we'd pay Iwakuma 'X,' but we'd also have to pay $75,000 a year to have an interpreter with him. His English suddenly got better. His English got better when we told him that."
When talking about highly regarded prospect Julio Rodriguez, Mather remarked the outfielder "has got a personality bigger than all of you combined. He is loud. His English is not tremendous."
Mather also called third baseman Kyle Seager, who has played in the Seattle organization since the team drafted him in 2009, a future Mariners Hall of Famer but was "overpaid." Seager, 33, is the club's highest-paid player, guaranteed $18 million this season with a club option for 2022.
Mather had been with the Seattle organization for nearly 25 years, joining the club in 1996, and was promoted to president/CEO of the team in November of 2017.