Lorena Martin, the former director of high performance for the Seattle Mariners, was fired from her post in early October. She was the data guru in the organization.
On Monday, she accused Mariners staff, including general manager Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais, and director of player development Andy McKay, of poor leadership and racist comments describing Dominican players as “lazy, dumb, and stupid.”
Martin did not respond Monday to multiple interview requests, but she expanded on her accusations against the Mariners in an interview with the Tacoma News-Tribune on Monday night.
“The Mariners organization has major issues,” she posted. “The things I’ve witnessed and heard first hand left me shocked." https://t.co/3eoRqxbXDB
— Tacoma News Tribune (@thenewstribune) November 13, 2018
Martin told the News-Tribune that she had a meeting in January with Dipoto and McKay to talk about McKay taking over mental skills development. Martin asserted that, per her contract, mental skills training fell under her purview, and said Dipoto called her a “cocky Latina.” In that same meeting, Martin said McKay commented that Dominican players are “just plain stupid.”
Martin also highlighted an incident at the Mariners’ spring training complex in Peoria, Arizona, when Dipoto punched a whiteboard and demonstrated “really aggressive behavior” when she asserted again that she was responsible for mental skills training.
Martin also told the News-Tribune that Servais told her you don’t see Latino managers or catchers in baseball because “they aren’t bright enough. They are dumb.” Martin said she reported the incidents to the Mariners’ Human Resources department.
Martin said she was also discriminated against based on her gender, claiming that during spring training, Servais refused to allow her to attend a meeting with players in the clubhouse, and when she asked why, he said, “Honestly, it’s because you’re a woman.”
The Mariners denied Martin’s allegations in a statement to The Seattle Times on Monday night, saying:
Earlier on Monday, the Mariners released a more general statement about Martin’s initial Instagram post and her termination:
“Lorena Martin was relieved of her duties with the Mariners on Oct. 10, 2018.
“While it is our policy to not comment on personnel issues, we do feel it is important to respond to the outrageous, false claims made by her today on social media. And to note that Martin did not make any of these false allegations until after she was relieved of her duties.The Mariners categorically deny that any member of our management or coaching staff made racist remarks regarding any of our players or staff. Additionally, we have not terminated (or threatened to terminate) any trainers during the off-season.”
Martin posted in a Twitter response to MLB.com that two trainers in the Dominican Republic, Leonardo Santiago and Jose Valdez, were fired. An industry source confirmed that both men did not have their contracts renewed for next season, “which is basically like being fired.”
Multiple MLB sources indicated that the Mariners are trying to avoid paying the remaining two years on Martin’s three-year contract and that she has hired an attorney.
But there is a belief that Martin’s contract, like with most higher-salary contracts in MLB, had a binding arbitration clause, which means that neither party can sue the other in this situation. Instead, they must meet with an independent arbitrator, who would determine a settlement.
Martin responded on Twitter by saying:
They wanted to negotiate to keep me quiet.
— Lorena Martin (@LMHighPerform) November 12, 2018
During an interview with The Seattle Times in June, Mariners owner and managing partner John Stanton included Martin among a group of women who “play an important role in this organization.”
Added Stanton: “I’m sure you’ve read the press releases on Dr. Martin. She came to us from the Lakers. She runs our high-performance program. She is, as far as I know, unique within baseball. She is the only woman. Not all teams have a high-performance program, but she is the only woman running such a program.”