Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic, agent express frustration with team

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 12: Jarred Kelenic #58 of the Seattle Mariners looks on after hitting a double in the second inning during an intrasquad game during summer workouts at T-Mobile Park on July 12, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie

Top Seattle prospect Jarred Kelenic and his agent believe the 21-year-old outfielder has been kept off the Mariners’ major league roster because of his refusal to accept a long-term contract offer from the franchise.

Kelenic and agent Brody Scoffield told USA Today they believe Kelenic is being punished. Scoffield said it was made clear Kelenic would have made his debut during the shortened 2020 season had he signed the deal.

"It was made crystal clear to Jarred — then and now — that his decision not to call him up is based on service time. There’s no question that if he signed that contract, he would have been in the big leagues," Scoffield told USA Today.

Kelenic’s status was at the center of comments made by former team president and CEO Kevin Mather, who resigned this week after online video surfaced of him insinuating the club was delaying the arrival in Seattle of Kelenic and pitcher Logan Gilbert as a way to increase the club’s long-term control over the two prospects. Mather also took shots in the same video at a former All-Star from Japan and a top prospect from the Dominican Republic for their English skills.

The expectation has been that Kelenic and Gilbert would make their debuts in Seattle during the 2021 season.

Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto insisted Tuesday that Kelenic’s service time is not being manipulated, noting that while he’s among the top prospects in baseball, Kelenic has played just 21 games above Single-A ball after the 2020 minor league season was wiped out.

Speaking directly to Kelenic’s comments in USA Today, Dipoto told Seattle radio station KJR-AM on Wednesday that the club has been truthful with Kelenic about its plans.

"I’m sorry, Jarred feels that way," Dipoto said. "We feel that that is the furthest thing from the truth. Our primary concern with all of our players is developing to the best of our ability. We’ve laid out a plan for Jarred, we’ve been very transparent in sharing that with him along the way."

In his comments to USA Today, Kelenic insisted he believed he could have helped the Mariners contend for a playoff berth a year ago. Seattle has the longest playoff drought in baseball and missed making the expanded 2020 playoffs by two games.