What will happen with Scott Servais as Mariners’ manager? Will he end up joining Jerry Dipoto up in the front office after the 2020 season? It’s hard to imagine he would be fired due to the loyal history between him and Dipoto.
For his prior lack of experience as a field manager, Scott Servais has done a solid job with the Mariners. He turned them into a contender from 2016 to 2018 and boy were they fun to watch. But while he is a good manager overall, he may not be the best fit for the team’s current state.
Looking back, which manager would have been a better fit for this young, developing team? Clint Hurdle originally came to mind. After years in the doldrums, Hurdle led the miracle Rock-tober followed by the end of a long-awaited playoff drought in Steel City. He is unfortunately no longer active having retired from the game.
So who would have been more compatible with this Mariners team than the current system? After struggling to succeed two World champion managers in Leyland and Scioscia, Brad Ausmus waved bye-bye to another team as manager.
Fortunately for the Angels, Joe Maddon was inked to a three-year deal to take over the helm. What the man has done is nothing short of plain cool. His first glimpse of an underdog champion was as bench coach for the 2002 Angels. He was part of an organization that went from 75 wins in the 2001 year to a 24-win turnaround and World Series win the following.
If not for the 2008 Phillies finishing things off, he would have pulled off a parallel feat as Rays manager. After succeeding Sweet Lou in St. Pete, he took the Rays from worst to first. No, worst to pennant winner!
Maddon continued this underdog winning with the Cubs shortly after. Having been lovable losers for a few years prior, Chicago never finished with a losing season during his five-year tenure. All the more impressive was how quickly Maddon made the Rays and Cubs into perennial winners.
His teams refused to go down easy. The 2011 Rays are a prime example of that. The Rays won a pennant and the Cubs took home their historical title in only his third and second years as skipper respectively.
Just like the current Mariners, both teams went through rebuilds after years of not much winning baseball. They prioritized homegrown talent over anything and found ways to win with players who you barely heard of before.
Scott Servais is a good fit as Mariners manager and has found success of his own with a hard-luck franchise. But looking back, a manager like Joe Maddon may have been a better fit. A manager can still be good yet not compatible with a team’s direction.
While entering his fifth year as an MLB manager, Servais is still young at his job. Maddon has a full decade of experience with him. He has a proven track record of making pretenders into contenders. He is a pro at making inexperienced youth play like they have been doing this for years.
So since Joe Maddon is already taken by a West rival, Servais has the task of making this franchise play like they know what they are doing out there.