Mariners Servais Isn’t Coach Of Year, But He’s A Keeper
By Adam Levi
The Mariners rookie skipper, Scott Servais didn’t win Manager of the Year. He wasn’t even nominated. Nevertheless, he shocked the baseball world by making the M’s a playoff contender this past year and along the way became one of the Mariners most winningest rookie coaches in their history.
The award for Manager of the Year for both leagues was announced tonight, and to no one’s surprise, the winner wasn’t the Mariners, Scott Servais. Servais helped the M’s to one of their strongest seasons in the last fifteen years, but his team still couldn’t make the playoffs. If they had,maybe he would’ve been nominated for the award.
Even though the Mariners didn’t make the playoffs, Servais strategically maneuvered the M’s to eighty-six wins in his rookie campaign. That happens to be the third most wins by a Mariners rookie manager in their forty-year history.
If you are wondering who the two other rookie managers were that had better first years in Seattle then Servais, they were: Lloyd McClendon who pushed the M’s to eighty-seven wins in 2014 and Bob Melvin who reached ninety-three wins with whoever remained from Lou Piniella’s American League division champion squads.
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Servais was able to produce predominantly left-handed lineups that could offensively play well versus mostly right-handed pitchers, while at the same time filling every spot in the field with a capable defender.
On the flip side, Servais used his right-handed players wisely in pinch-hitting situations and defensive substitutions that allowed young players to thrive in their first licks in the majors, but also helped the Mariners to key wins.
Servais will have new pieces to work with next year in the bullpen and his everyday lineup. But, he must hope that he can reap the same benefits from his players this coming year and not succumb to the eventual fate of Melvin and McClendon who were both let go as skipper within three years of their hiring.
As a forbidding side note, neither Melvin or McClendon could ever muster more wins than they achieved in their rookie seasons as skippers.
With all this being said, Servais has created energy around this club that hasn’t been felt in Seattle for over a decade.
Their core group of stars in Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, and Nelson Cruz are all signed on for at least the next several years. He has key clubhouse guys like Leonys Martin who help rally the club, and he has “the King” to help him win more games in the coming years.
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The future looks bright for Scott Servais and the Mariners. All he and the team have to do now is continue to prove the doubters wrong and win a ton of games. If there’s one manager who can help this franchise break its fifteen-year playoff drought, it’s Servais.