Mariners executives faced complaints for inappropriate workplace conduct in the past

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The Seattle Times reports that, several years ago, three women accused three high-ranking Mariners executives of inappropriate workplace conduct. The complaints came in the 2009-10 period against current Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather, then-team President Chuck Armstrong and then-Executive Vice President Bob Aylward.

The allegations, which were investigated at the time and which were resolved with settlements in excess of a half million dollars, included Mather repeatedly rubbing an executive assistant’s back and making suggestive comments that made her feel uncomfortable. Another claimed that he would make inappropriate jokes and comments about female colleagues in her presence. Aylward had pornography pop up on his computer screen when he asked a female assistant to help him when the system froze up. The third said that she was asked to deliver wine to Armstrong in his suite, at which point they kissed, saying she felt pressured by the then-team President to do so.

The Times reports that the claims triggered internal reviews and staff-wide sexual-harassment seminars, but that eventually the three women would leave their jobs. Armstrong eventually retired with Mather taking his place at the top of the organization. Aylward moved to the Mariners’ regional sports network, Root, where he serves as chairman.

At present Mariners employees, including women, say there is no evidence of the kind of behavior described in the story in the workplace. The team and Mather each issued statements saying that they are proud of the organization’s workplace environment and the role of women within it. Of course, there’s no telling how many women, separate and apart from those who made complaints and/or received settlements, left the team’s employment or failed to advance there when past conditions and attitude toward women did hold forth. A currently enlightened workplace is a good thing, but it does not erase the damage done in the past.

As ESPN’s Keith Law tweeted in response to this story, the Mariners are almost certainly not alone in having these sorts of skeleton’s in the team’s closet. Indeed . . .

As Law used to work for a major league franchise, it’s safe to assume he knows of what he speaks.

Cubs, RHP Taillon reportedly agree to 4-year contract

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SAN DIEGO — The Chicago Cubs have added Jameson Taillon to their rotation, agreeing to a four-year contract with the right-hander that is worth roughly $68 million.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Cubs haven’t formally announced the move, but President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer said the team has been looking at Taillon for a long time.

“I think he’s a really good starting pitcher,” Hoyer said at baseball’s winter meetings in San Diego. “He’s been really consistent. I think he’s continued to get better as he’s gotten healthier in his career. I think he’s showed the promise he had.”

The 31-year-old Taillon is coming off a solid season with the New York Yankees, going 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA. He matched his career high with 32 starts and worked 177 1/3 innings, his best total since he logged 191 innings in 2018.

The move puts Taillon back in the NL Central after he began his career with Pittsburgh. Taillon made his major league debut in 2016 and went 29-24 with a 3.67 ERA in 82 starts in his first four seasons with the Pirates.

Taillon missed the 2020 season after he had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow for a second time. He was traded to the Yankees in January 2021 for four prospects.

“Since he’s been healthy, beginning with the Yankees, I think he’s pitched really well,” Hoyer said. “Yeah, I think there’s still more in the tank. But obviously we’re excited to get him. He’s a guy we targeted at the beginning of the offseason.”

Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft, moves into a rotation that also includes Marcus Stroman, who finalized a $71 million, three-year contract last December. Kyle Hendricks is hoping to return to form after he missed the last part of the season with shoulder trouble.

Chicago went 74-88 this year and finished third in the NL Central. But it went 40-31 in its last 71 games. The rotation had a 2.89 ERA after the All-Star break, third in the majors behind the Astros (2.70) and Dodgers (2.73).

The Cubs also got Cody Bellinger on Tuesday, agreeing to a $17.5 million, one-year contract with the 2019 NL MVP. Bellinger figures to play center field, but he also could get some work at first base.

The team could add another starting pitcher, and it is monitoring the shortstop market.

“Really glad with the two guys that we are able to potentially come to an agreement with while we’re here,” Hoyer said. “And obviously a lot of offseason left.”