Mariners Introduce Scott Servais as Manager


The Seattle Mariners held a press conference on Monday morning at Safeco Field to introduce Scott Servais as the 20th skipper in franchise history. Servais’ hiring has been met with trepidation by the fan base, but he did a great job laying out his philosophy today.

Jerry Dipoto started the conference by stating that bringing Servais on board in Seattle is the “next step towards a new beginning for the Mariners’ organization.” Dipoto said the M’s had six finalists for the gig, but Servais stood out because of his leadership traits.

Click here to watch the press conference in it’s entirety.

More from Mariners News

Servais then took center stage and discussed the unorthodox road he took to the big leagues. Growing up in a small town in northern Wisconsin, nobody thought Scott Servais would play professional baseball. He attributed his blue collar work ethic to his family, suggesting he “wouldn’t be here today if not for the environment [his] parents raised [him] in.”

Servais has spent the bulk of his post-playing days working in the front office, but it appears being a field manager has always been his goal. He described being named manager of the Mariners as a “dream come true.”

The word “connect” was used numerous time by Servais and Dipoto this morning. Servais told reporters that over the course of his 28 years in baseball, he has “learned to connect” with players. Dipoto discussed the importance of having an organization that is connected, from the scouts to the player development team to the front office to the manager. Servais and Dipoto want to cultivate an inclusive atmosphere on the field, in the clubhouse and in the front office.

Servais described himself as a “football coach wearing a baseball uniform.” He went on to say that he prides himself on preparation and his ability to communicate with the players and staff. Servais said that his time spent in the big leagues as a catcher helped develop his interpersonal skills.

When asked to talk about what fans can expect from the Mariners in 2016, Servais had this to say:

"“We will be prepared, we will be disciplined in how we play, we will play with energy. I believe it is okay to show emotion once in awhile. And we will compete”"

Coaches often use the concept of “competing” in press conferences, but Servais had an interesting take on the popular cliche. He suggested trying hard is not enough, he will require a mental and physical commitment from the Mariners next season. An emphasis on developing the mental side of the game has been a common thread in all of the people Dipoto has hired with Seattle.

Servais is a big believer in the power of youth, saying “veterans carry the load, but young players bring the energy.” He wants a diverse team with different backgrounds and skill sets. The M’s will play to their ballpark, relying heavily on a strong pitching staff and sound defense. Servais highlighted the Mariners inability to get on base and lack of athleticism as two areas he wants to improve.

The media and the fans have voiced significant concern about Servais’ lack of coaching experience. Dipoto defended his new skipper by saying, “[Servais] has managed people, he has managed players, he has managed situations.” Dipoto added that Servais would occasionally fill in for managers in the minor leagues during his tenure with the Angels.

It’s clear that the M’s are taking a non-traditional route in sculpting their front office and coaching staff. Scott Servais will be more involved in personnel decisions than most managers, with Dipoto suggesting that the two are “partners.” Servais told the media that he believes in having a balanced a roster, and he stressed the importance of having depth on the big league roster and in the minor leagues.

Early indications are that Servais will be a players manager. He listed Jim Riggleman, Dusty Baker and Clint Hurdle as some of his favorite skippers to work with and play for. Servais said Bobby Cox was a manager he always admired.

What I found most interesting about the press conference was how close Servais is with Nelson Cruz. Servais worked as the Texas Rangers farm director before joining Dipoto in Anaheim. Servais spent some time tinkering with Cruz’s approach at the plate in the minor leagues, and the two are said to be very close. This is good news for M’s fans, as Cruz is expected to once again be a key contributor with Seattle in 2016.

Servais told reporters that he intends to visit with many of the players this winter. He will be in the Dominican Republic soon, and Servais said he hopes to meet with Robinson Cano and go fishing with Cruz.

Scott Servais came off as a soft spoken and intelligent man this morning. He seems very levelheaded, and has a Terry Collins feel to him. It was clear on Monday that Dipoto trusts Servais, and they have a very good working relationship. I understand fans being anxious about hiring a relative unknown to mange the team, but I am excited to see what this group can get done this winter.

Next: Mariners Year in Review: Nelson Cruz

More from SoDo Mojo