The way Kevin Mather sees it, his primary duty as the Mariners’ new president and chief operating officer is to provide general manager Jack Zduriencik with sufficient resources to build a winning club.
And, yes, that means immediately.
Mather said Zduriencik has sufficient financial flexibility to make additional roster additions for the upcoming season.
“That was (the subject of) my meeting this morning (with Zduriencik),” Mather said. “I said, `Where are we? Where are your holes? What are you priorities this off-season? Is there still value out there?”
Mather said Zduriencik sought the flexibility to explore possible additions, and “he does have that.” How that money is spent, and if it is spent, will be up to Zduriencik.
“Jack Zduriencik is in charge of the baseball club,” Mather emphasized. “I think the president’s role is to provide resources…
“Whether it’s a Dominican academy or Rule 4 draft signing, or a new pitching coach in Tacoma or a free agent on the free-agent market, we have to provide the resources.”
The Mariners announced Friday morning that Mather, who has been with the club since 1996, will replace Chuck Armstrong as president and COO. Armstrong’s final day will be Jan. 31.
Mather’s early goals include establishing a “three-year rolling working plan” to provide the context of a longer view.
“Historically, it’s been, `Here’s your payroll for next year,’” he said. “Free agents don’t sign one-year deals unless they’re desperate.
“Free agents sign three-, four-, five- — and in the case of (Robinson) Cano — 10-year deals. We need to have a longer-term vision. That’s where I think I can add value.
“But if we have a hole that needs filling…it’s no fun losing. Let’s fill the hole, and we’ll find the resources. Our ownership has, historically, been very good about that.”