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Mariners Terminate Contract of Dr. Lorena Martin, Director of High Performance, Amid Controversy

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The Mariners have terminated Dr. Martin’s three-year contract after just a year, and Dr. Martin has alleged racial discrimination

While waiting for news to break of where LHP James Paxton would next be headed, the Mariners organization has instead delivered a bombshell of far more distressing proportions. The news itself is troubling at best: Dr. Lorena Martin, hired just one year ago to the position of Director of High Performance, has been fired by the organization.

With two more years on her contract, reportedly, it seems the issues were severe, and the Mariners appear to feel they are an aggrieved party in the situation, such that they are attempting to avoid paying the rest of Dr. Martin’s contract. While it’s unknown what the details of her contract were, it is common in sports for coaches and coach-like personnel to have “for cause” clauses in their contracts. These clauses tend to protect the employee from firing without pay before the conclusion of their deal without specific cause - in other words not just because they weren’t performing their job as well as desired. This is famously common in college football, although prevalent throughout many sports, and other professions, where coaches often receive significant payouts after delivering poor results due to having received guarantees of payment barring a “for cause” firing (see, Petrino, Bobby).

The situation, however, only gets thornier from there. Dr. Martin outlined a list of issues with the Mariners organization on both her Instagram and Twitter accounts, which touch the highest levels of the front office.

As is sometimes the case, Tweets and posts get deleted, so should that occur, here is the text from Dr. Martin’s post:

Dr. Lorena Martin

Dr. Martin further elaborated in response to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times outlining the situation, stating that the Mariners organization had been in negotiations with her about a more quiet parting of ways.

From all angles this is a disastrous situation. These allegations come on the heels of further organizational problems and controversy. Earlier in the 2018 season a Seattle Times exposé found that the Mariners dealt with three reported cases of reported sexual harassment by high-level officials, including current President Kevin Mather. Mather, save for a public apology following the article, has done nothing and continues to preside over the organization, while the women involved all left the organization shortly after reporting. And, of course, there was a clubhouse fight near the end of the season, with Jean Segura, a native of the Dominican Republic, at the center.

We have reached out to the Mariners and Dr. Martin for further comment, and will refrain from speculating until we’ve heard from the respective parties.

UPDATE: 4:55 PM PT

The Mariners have released their statement: