Likewise, Mather hailed the prospect Logan Gilbert as a “top-of-the-rotation pitcher,” but said “you won’t see him on April 1, but by mid-April.” And while the Mariners had several top prospects at their alternate training site last season, Mather said that he had a better chance of being called up to the majors than they did.
“There was no chance you were going to see these young players at T-Mobile Park,” he said. “We weren’t going to put them on the 40-man roster, we weren’t going to start the service time clock.”
Players around the league like Anthony Rizzo, the veteran Chicago Cubs first baseman, were hardly surprised.
“Being in this game, you know what he said is true, about 99.9 percent, it happens — it’s just not out there and it’s not said,” Rizzo told reporters. “There’s stories written on it, but there are teams that manipulate service time. There’s teams that do it all the time. Him coming out and saying that, it’s pretty annoying and frustrating for us as players, but it’s not like we don’t know anything that he said. It’s just, him saying that — good, I’m happy it’s out in the public now and people are seeing that’s the way it is.”
Negotiations on a new C.B.A. will be a battle, Rizzo said, but that, too, is an open secret. As Mather also told the Rotary Club: “There is a high level of distrust between the union and the management currently, and I’m very worried about what’s coming in the future.”