The Mariners have a new president, and it's not Tony La Russa. Geoff Baker reports that Chuck Armstrong's successor an internal hire in Kevin Mather, who slides into the role from VP of finance and ballpark operations. There isn't much known about him, but he worked in the Twins organization before coming to Seattle, where he's been for 1996. It seems like a decent compromise between the side who wanted a "baseball guy" and the side who wanted a shrewd businessman, as Mather fits both bills, having been in the game for a long time.
The main chatter you'll hear today is how Mather is a bottom line economizer, thanks to an old profile the Walla Walla Journal did on him in 2012. I wouldn't read too much into it. That's been his job description, and he was apparently pretty good at it. He'll have plenty of other things to do as President, and I wouldn't be so quick to assume that because he did his last job as well, and as described, that he'll pinch pennies at the top with different responsibilities.
His role will be similar to the one Chuck Armstrong had, according to this from Howard Lincoln (via Ryan Divish) back in November.
Lincoln wouldn’t rule out promotion from within. Kevin Mather, the Mariners’ executive vice president of ballpark finance and operations, is well thought of by upper management.
"Oh yes, we certainly have qualified internal candidates," he said. "But I’m going into this thing with a wide-open view and I’m not limiting it to outside or inside candidates."
Lincoln won’t change the structure of the front office. Teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks have split up the responsibilities of the president position between two people — giving one person control of the business aspect and the other as director of baseball operations.
"I know that some clubs have done that," he said. "I’m not at the point where I can say it’s a good idea or a bad idea. Most clubs I think operate the same way the Mariners operated under Chuck’s leadership. There are clubs that have tried to separate the baseball operations from the rest of the business. I’m aware of that. I really haven’t started thinking that way yet."
In all honesty, we don't know much about Mather yet, we'll definitely learn more very soon. Perhaps he'll speak at the Mariners preseason media luncheon today, where Colin and I will be in attendance. We'll have more on this as it starts to unravel, but for now -- a new era starts in nine days with a new leader.