Mariners change front office structure after Mather

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PEORIA, Ariz. — The Seattle Mariners will change the structure of their front office operations following the resignation of former team president and CEO Kevin Mather.

Mariners chairman John Stanton told reporters at the team’s training facility in Arizona on Wednesday that the club will separate its baseball and business operations. General manager Jerry Dipoto will report to Stanton directly on baseball-related matters, while a new team president will oversee the business side of the operations.

Stanton said the team is in no rush to hire a president.

“As I looked around, I talked to a number of people in baseball, including the commissioner, who said, frankly, if my partners and I are willing to commit to this that it’s a better structure for a lot of reasons,” Stanton said.

Mather resigned on Feb. 22 after video from an online event surfaced where he expressed his views of the club’s organizational strategy and made controversial remarks about players. He took insensitive shots at a former All-Star from Japan and a top prospect from the Dominican Republic for their English skills. He also admitted the team may be manipulating service time for some of its young players.

Stanton said the team is finalizing severance for Mather, who will not hold any stake in ownership of the club moving forward.

“We did damage to the trust in the relationship between our front office and our fans and the community and we need to rebuild that trust,” Stanton said.

While Dipoto has had control over baseball-related decisions, he’ll now have a more direct line to ownership. Dipoto’s contract is up after this season and Stanton said he’s pleased with the moves that have been made during the club’s rebuilding.

Stanton also said the team continues to work with health officials in the hope of having some fans at T-Mobile Park on April 1 when the Mariners open the season hosting San Francisco.

“We right now are hopeful that we will have fans in the building. We are excited about that. And we’re planning for it. We’re training our staff and doing all the things that we need to do to be able to accommodate them,” Stanton said. “Ultimately, it’ll be a decision by the governor and by the state as to whether we can do that. As I say, we’re very hopeful.”