Mariner leadership builds trust with clubhouse

Manager Scott Servais saw the gap between leadership and the players on the field and took matters in his own hands to right the ship.
Seattle Mariners v Detroit Tigers
Seattle Mariners v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

When budding star and team leader Cal Raleigh stepped to the microphone after the last game of the 2023 season, frustration seemed to boil over. The 28-year-old backstop would call out the front office for not augmenting a flawed roster for the stretch run. He'd apologize a day later, but the reconciliatory comments were aimed at his teammates and not the president of baseball operations, Jerry Dipoto, and general manager, Justin Hollander. The whole situation was another instance that backed up previous claims by former Mariner Kyle Seager in 2021 of a gap between the front office and the clubhouse.

Per's beat reporter, Daniel Kramer, the Mariners' leadership team and manager Scott Servais made a concerted effort to communicate with the team's core consisting of J.P. Crawford, Julio Rodriguez, Luis Castillo, and Raleigh. The initiative was Servais's brainchild, which he implemented to build trust and better communication between the front office, coaches, and players.

They called Raleigh multiple times this offseason to keep him updated on impending roster subtractions and additions, something he was grateful for after a disappointing end to the 2023 season in which the Mariners missed the playoffs by one game.

"I think with them doing that, it's a level of trust. It's a level of being able to trust them. They trust us. It's a little more comforting knowing that."

Cal Raleigh

Raleigh is a key member of the Mariner core who leads the dynamic pitching staff, plays through injury, and has two consecutive 3+ WAR seasons under his belt. Not to mention, his teammates listen to and value his opinions as referenced by them standing the 28-year-old after the comments this offseason.

The Florida State Seminole alum wasn't the only player to reap the benefits of the focused effort. Servais also traveled to Tampa to visit superstar centerfielder Julio Rodriguez and even took a fishing trip with ace Luis Castillo in his native Dominican Republic. Spending time to connect with players and meet them where they are rooted could pay big dividends this season as Raleigh and his teammates turn the page on 2023 and enter 2024 with a remarkably different roster.