For some people that don't follow consistently, or read the stuff beyond conversational tweets, I have always maintained that Jarred Kelenic should have been on the opening day roster as the starting left fielder. That hasn't changed
In talking to multiple pro scouts covering the Mariners this spring, most believed that he could use a little time in Triple A at least a month because he didn't have a minor league season and the M's didn't bring him up last year. But they also said he was the best LF candidate
The service time manipulation accusations were legit and written about last season and this offseason well before Mather's infamous zoom call. To the Mariners, the big thing was the extra year of control when Kelenic is 27/28.
If they can't sign Kelenic to an extension to buy out arbitration years, and he plays to expected levels of potential, and looking at salary inflation, they could be paying up $20 million in the final year of arb. I think Trevor Story is making $17.5 million in 2021
So let's take a bad guess at Kelenic could make:
Arb 1 -- 7 million (record is $11.5)
Arb 2 -- 12 million
Arb 3 -- 19 million

So that's $38 million, which would be a steal over four years of production.
The arb system, which is supposedly in place to generate decent pay based on past performance, is a flawed because teams can non-tender and screw players if they are projected to make too much. And players making the minimum for the first three years never get proper value
This is all based on if service time/club control parameters remain the same, which will be a major issue during upcoming CBA and likely work stoppage as well as service time accrual formula. Certainly Mather's video will be played many times in those negotiations.
The service time manipulation sucks and it ruins the game and sport. But it can't be surprising that it happens and business decisions are made that way. Owners have always been ruthless in that regard. All big business are cold and bottom-line based with no loyalty.
From the business standpoint, the Mariners are about a week and a half away from the service time threshold that keeps him for another season. Kelenic has played in like 3-4 sim games since ST ended because of COVID protocols in a co-op league and no minor league ST games
If the Mariners want to call him up, he has to get on a commercial flight and will have to pass the intake protocols as well which can take up to 3 days. MLB shelving the Triple A season for a month feels more like a middle finger to the players than about safety.
Of course, none of this is an issue if Kelenic is on the opening day roster and playing, or even if there was a normal MLB and MILB season last year.

The 187 days of service time for a 60-game season was significant to all teams' thinking.
Does the Mariners/Mather's behavior hurt the possibility of signing him to an extension? Absolutely.

There was some debate in baseball circles whether Kelenic always wanted to get to free agency and test the open market before all of this happened.
It's difficult to know what is a fair extension offer would look like for Kelenic since he literally never played a MLB game, which again can be pointed as the M's fault as well.
The initial extension offer was considered "slap in the face." And the quid pro quo about debuting if he signed, which the M's deny, sounds shady AF. It was more than Evan White's extension, and somewhat similar to Eloy Jimenez. But the option years were different.
If the M's offered, Kelenic the Acuna contract extension offer today, does he sign it? What contract would you be willing to give to lock him up for say 7 years with an option for 8th. The M's aren't paupers, but there is still risk in all of this.
Acuna got his deal after playing 111 games (manipulation) in 2018 and putting up quality numbers.…
After doing this for a while now, and having a general distrust of everyone, none of this seems surprising. There are no morals or ethics in business side of anything.

It's why the M's have been bad and why baseball is headed for a labor stoppage.
I'm not going to tell fans how to think or feel. Fandom is personal experience. The debate is:

Does Kelenic make this team a postseason contender right now?

Does calling him up now vs. two weeks from now, knowing he could leave after 2026 instead of 2027 matter?
Will he hold this against the M's forever?

Would he forget about it if the M's offered him a massive extension after this season?

Does he really want to sign an extension or bet on himself?
You can assume how I think about this stuff based on pieces of twitter conversations, which is fine.
But it's not like I haven't written about this stuff or talked about it on podcasts quite a bit recently.
I understand why teams have done and continue to do these things. I don't agree with it. I have my doubts as to whether it will change. Billionaires find ways to stay billionaires.

Also the M's need to play faster games.

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22 Feb
Since @StoneLarry is columnizing on this situation as I type this and I'm waiting to record a podcast, I offer you this question:

When has the Mariners' organization made the proper and logical decision in the proper and logical timeframe?
Unfortunately, I wasn't surprised by any of Mather's comments. He's always had minimal filter when it comes to his thoughts and opinions, even in interview situations.
I am surprised that people who have ascended to such professional levels can be unaware that everything is recorded, particularly zoom calls where there is red light and the word "recording"
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