Joe Veyera Profile picture
21 Feb, 23 tweets, 5 min read
THREAD: Mariners President Kevin Mather spoke with the Bellevue Rotary on Feb. 5, and the group has posted that conversation on their YouTube page.
One of the most notable tidbits to come from the 45-minute video is his claim that the team offered Jarred Kelenic a six-year contract for "substantial money," but were rebuffed.

“In his words, he’s going to bet on himself.”
“As bad as our year was financially in 2020, we were better than most."

Mather says that's due both to where the team was in its rebuilding process (low payroll), and the TV deal with ROOT Sports Northwest which "punches well above our weight."
What's the timeline for fans at T-Mobile Park in 2021?

A socially distanced set-up seats approximately 10,000 fans (in four-person pods), and the team has worked with local health officials. Mather believes crowd sizes will increase as the season goes on.
Mather claims the Seahawks wanted to have fans at their Jan. 9 playoff game against the Rams, but were ultimately unsuccessful.

"I told my staff, let’s just hold their coat and stay out of this one."
“The union really pushed back and said don’t do it,” regarding Evan White's six-year, $24 million extension, Mather claims. The team wants to do more of them.

"We’re going to try to get 3 or 4 more players signed on these long term deals in the next two years.”
The team had the option of moving its High-A affiliate to Spokane or Vancouver, B.C., but opted to remain with Everett despite not being particularly fond of the facility.
When asked how the team helps international players learn English, Mather took an odd shot at Hisashi Iwakuma, saying "I'm tired of paying his interpreter."

"His English suddenly got better when we told him that."
The team was not going to start the service clocks of their prospects last season under any circumstances.

“If we would have had an injury problem or a COVID outbreak, you might have seen my big tummy out there in left field."
In free agency, the team was content to wait out the market.

"We have taken the position that there are 180 free agents still out there on Feb. 5 still unsigned, and sooner or later, these players are going to turn their hat over and come hat in hand, looking for a contract."
“This is probably [Kyle Seager's] last season as a Mariner. … He will be a Mariner Hall of Famer when he is done playing.”
The most self-aware moment came perhaps right at the beginning of his remarks: "No one cares if wealthy sports team owners lose money. Shut up and move on."

He later claims the industry lost $2.9 billion last year.
Mather provided details to what were then ongoing negotiations between the team and James Paxton.

"His agent has told us that he’s going to make more in 2021. Interestingly we started a conversation with Paxton yesterday, & it is for substantially less than he made last year."
I have to give substantial credit to @SeattleSunDvl for being, as far as I can tell, the first person to find this video.
It was a little odd that, despite having generally positive remarks about Julio Rodriguez, telling the group he has, "a personality bigger than all of you combined," and that he loves the Mariners, he noted, "his English is not tremendous."
"We need to make it easy for fans to come to T-Mobile Park. ... They shouldn't have to stand in line to spend money with us. They shouldn't have to stand in line to get into the building. We need to get better about big crowds. ... I worry about the neighborhood."
Re: Season ticket holders: "As we start the season, we will likely offer them socially-distanced seats, and they will use up their credit. My suspicion is they won't be able to use their entire credit because of social distance requirements."
I wanted to go back and get Mather's Iwakuma remarks in full, assuming this video gets taken down in short order.
More from Mather on his neighborhood concerns, and not letting employees park in the garage across the street?
I think that about covers the main points in a 45-minute session I am still surprised made it to YouTube.

I will also note that the video jumps ahead about six minutes toward the end, and then cuts off mid-question, so who knows what was said in those moments.
UPDATE: The video has now been removed from YouTube. Yes, I did download it beforehand.
I'm going to take a wild guess and say people throughout the organization are not thrilled with what they've heard and seen today.
Very, very not thrilled. And for damn good reason.

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