Former Mets prospect Jarred Kelenic says Mariners are manipulating his service time

Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic on field, hat tilted

Kevin Mather, the now-former Seattle Mariners CEO whose remarks about service time manipulation and insensitive comments about not wanting to pay for translators for his players, is no longer in power in Seattle.

But top prospect Jarred Kelenic says he’s still being punished by the organization.

A former Mets prospect, Kelenic — widely viewed as one of the top five prospects in all of baseball — did not sign a team-friendly extension last offseason. And he and his agent are saying that his failure to do so has kept him in the minors.

“It was communicated to Jarred that had he signed that contract, he would have debuted last year,’’ Kelenic’s agent, Brodie Scoffield, told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “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.”

Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto said Tuesday that Kelenic is “already on an accelerated path” to the majors.

“I was extremely disappointed,’’ Kelenic told USA Today about his current situation. “I worked extremely hard all offseason. And last year, here you have a team that is one game out of the playoffs going into the last weeks of the season. I know for a fact I could have helped that team out. Not just me, but there are other guys who could have helped that team out.

“Not to be given that opportunity was so beyond frustrating. I feel that guys should be rewarded for their play, and have the best guys on the field, especially when you talk about a team that hasn’t gone to the playoffs in 20 years, and your best prospects are just sitting there watching.’’

By keeping Kelenic in the minors, the Mariners are delaying the start of his service time clock, which delays the year he will reach free agency.

The 21-year-old Kelenic, whose inclusion by the Mets in the trade that brought Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano to Queens before the 2019 season, was viewed as a huge misstep at the time. And it’s aged even worse.

Kelenic’s big league debut is expected to come at some point this season.

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