Now that the Winter Meetings are over, we can look back at the week that was (trades, signings and other news) as well as talk about what is in store for the club in the coming weeks and months.
With that in mind, The Hot Stove show debuts tonight with a live remote broadcast from the Southcenter Mariners Team Store.
Mariners broadcasters Rick Rizzs, Mike Blowers & Shannon Drayer will co-host the event and will be joined live by Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto from 7 to 8 pm. Mariners Manager Scott Servais and FOX Sports’ Rob Neyer will join by phone during the second hour of the show.
Be sure to tune in on the radio on 710 ESPN Seattle, online at MyNorthwest.com or stop by the team store to watch and listen in person.
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New Mariners Manager Scott Servais had a busy day in Nashville Wednesday at the Winter Meetings.
He met with his fellow managers, did interviews with MLB Network and MLB Radio, and had a 30 minute Q&A with the media. It was a wide-ranging session that included questions about Scott’s approach as a rookie manager, how the lineup is shaping up and the flurry of Mariners moves this offseason. Here’s a transcript of that session.
Q. You’ve had a lot of turnover here in short order. What’s the biggest challenge with that many new faces and a new face of your own?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Well, they’re all new to me, that’s the first thing. Obviously, there’s been a ton of turnover in our roster. Change was coming. Obviously, new general manager, new field manager.
We talked about it early on, wanted to get a different look to our team. That’s what we focused on. Obviously, Jerry (Dipoto) has done an awesome job trying to go out and acquire players that fit the mold he’s looking for.
On the tough side, we’ve given up some very good players, guys that are going to go on and have very successful careers, and it may come back and hurt us at times. To get good players, you’ve got to give up good players. We’ve been aggressive. I don’t think people understand how hard it is to make trades. But we’re getting after it, and I don’t think Jerry is going to slow down any time soon.
Q. Is your lineup starting to come into place?
SS: For me, yes.
Q. A bit more on what it might look like?
SS: We’ve talked a lot upstairs, and I’ve got ideas. We’ve shared things. I had the coaching staff together in Seattle last week. We have different bodies than we had last week, as crazy as that sounds.
Looking at different options, if you look at the makeup of our lineup, we have guys who get on base. For the most part, that’s something we said we wanted to address, controlling the strike zone, being a tougher out, and trying to create more opportunities to score runs, and we’ve gone out and gotten a few of those guys.
Hopefully, there’s a few more guys on base when Nelson (Cruz) and Robbie (Cano) come up to bat and create more scoring opportunities.
Q. Scott, you mentioned the new guys. But how much contact have you had with the guys that are coming back, especially that core group of guys, Felix and Cano and Seager?
SS: Quite a bit of contact. I’ve talked to 10 to 12 players face to face, many more on the phone, trying to get a feel — let them get a feel for me, first of all, and kind of what I’m like. More importantly, listening to them and where they’re at. Everybody is at a different point in their career, and I feel it’s important where I’m at to listen to them.
That includes Mike Zunino, as well, who we consider a high end prospect who’s going to have a very successful major league career. I’ve spent a lot of time. I’ve been in Dominican talking to Nelly (Cruz), I’ve talked to Robbie (Cano), Ketel Marte down there. I met with Felix (Hernandez) and (Taijuan) Walker. I talked to a lot of guys. I learned a lot about where they’re at, and I think they’ve learned a lot on where they’re going to go.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about Marte and what you see, or what you know?
SS: I’m really excited about him. I think he fits exactly what we’re looking for as far as a guy to create havoc on the bases offensively. We want to be aggressive. I think he brings some attitude or some swag to his game, which I don’t think is a bad thing. I think it’s a good thing. He’s very confident.
Fortunately for me, I’ve got veteran players around him and veteran leaders that can help control that at times, but I’m excited about it, and I think he’s going to be a key piece to our club. Getting in the middle of the field every day, I would like to say we know exactly what we’re going to get. We don’t. It’s young players. But I do believe he’s ready to contribute every day, and I’ve got my fingers crossed it works out.
Q. Would you like to see him do well enough to have him up at the top of the order?
SS: No doubt. I think that’s where he eventually settles in. I think he’ll let us know when he’s ready to do that every day. It may start out opening day, and it may be later in the season. We’ll see how the lineup kind of comes together as we get through Spring Training.
Q. Scott, what’s your view on platoons? I know you have one with Franklin Gutierrez and Seth Smith. Is Adam Lind a candidate for a platoon, obviously, or some type of lefty?
SS: Obviously, Adam Lind is dominant against right-handed pitching. We knew that when we acquired him. In a perfect world, you’re giving him a day off here or there against a tough lefty.
But you want to put players in positions to succeed. That’s my job. That’s the coaching staff’s job. If that means you’re going to use your entire roster, I would think somewhere else on our roster there would be a right-handed hitting first baseman to match up with him.
If not, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to play. Adam Lind is a good player, and that’s why we acquired him, and we gave up good players to get him.
Q. How much have you and Jerry talked about third time through the order effectiveness and how you might approach that?
SS: With our pitching staff?
SS: It is something to look at. I think all managers are looking at it, especially with the model the Kansas City Royals have thrown out there with their bullpen. I think it’s great if the guy you’re going to get is better than the guy who’s out there. You kind of have to look at your pitching staff and your roster and where you’re at. It’s definitely something we’ve talked about.
Q. Scott, it seems like the way managers are hired these days, it’s different from in the past. It used to be you spend a lot of time in the minors as a manager or maybe several years as a bench coach. We’ve seen more managers without previous experience get hired. As somebody who has spent time in the front office as well, why do you think this has changed?
SS: I spent plenty of time in the minors. I don’t know if you’re aware, but that’s where I’ve been the last ten years. I have not managed in the minor leagues. I have not been a bench coach in the big leagues. And I’m not the first. Lucky for me, there’s been many guys, and I could go through the list, talking to them earlier today. Mike Matheny and Brad Ausmus, guys with different paths.
Mine may be more what A.J. Hinch has gone through, just coming from the front office. I think there’s tremendous value in understanding of how to put teams together and how front offices look at that. I will use that to my benefit.
The one thing I’ve not done is I have not managed a Major League team, but I’ve managed people. I think, when you look at the game and how the game’s evolved, it is about managing people and creating an environment that they feel good about coming to work every day and a certain culture along with that. That’s what I think I can bring to the Mariners.
Again, it’s about the players and putting them in a position to win. So, again, it’s been a different path, I’ve said it all along, that I’ve taken to get here. I feel fortunate, and I’m really excited about getting started.
Q. You know that relationship between the general manager and manager has always been important. Is it a bigger key even now that there’s a synergy between them maybe now because of the advent of advanced metrics?
SS: It’s important, no doubt. It’s been important as long as baseball has been going on, that relationship, because there’s going to be some rough times. There’s going to be losing streaks, disagreements, things like that. I think having a relationship, knowing how the other person really ticks and having worked with that person for a long time, it certainly helps.
My relationship with Jerry, I understand how he thinks, and I know he understands how I think. So it speeds up the learning curve a little bit when you’re looking at roster and how players are going to be put into play. The analytical part of it and what goes on in the front office, it’s important everybody is on the same page. There’s no doubt. The way the game has gone on, they’re looking for a competitive advantage, the greatest players in the world. You’re managing against the most competitive people in the world. You have to use all the resources to try to win today’s game.
Q. Jerry said that the bullpen is still a work in progress. When you look at what you have right now, do you have a closer?
SS: We’ve got guys that can close. That’s how I look at it. Quite frankly, I have been away from my room for about four hours, so I’m not sure what’s happened in the last four hours as far as speaking to specific names and roles.
I think roles will be defined by the time we open up on opening day. I think players need to know kind of where they’re at. They also have to know that that role can change based on their performance and where the team’s at and how the matchups line up.
The one thing that I’m looking forward to doing is communicating with our players, being transparent on where we’re headed and why we’re headed there. I do believe, if you are honest and open with players, they’ll adjust.
But as far as the roles are in, right now, is it clearly defined? No, it’s not. Do I feel good that we have a closer? We’ll have somebody to take the ball at the end, whether it’s Joaquin Benoit, or somebody else.
Q. Who else could it be?
SS: I’m not going there. Good try, though.
Q. You mentioned being transparent. What’s your message to (Mike) Zunino know when you approach him?
SS: My biggest thing with Mike is I was a young catcher that really struggled to get in the big leagues. I’ve been in those shoes. I wasn’t a first round pick, but I was a high pick. Understanding what goes into catching and being a winning catcher, obviously, the defense and calling the game and things you would take a lot of pride in doing in helping your team win. But ultimately, what’s on the back of your baseball card is your batting statistics, and that plays into the game.
I know how hard it is to deal with failure. I think in my conversation with Mike, it was just to try to get a feel for where he’s at at this point in his career. I’m sure a lot of people want to try to help Mike, give him ideas on his hitting or approach to hitting or where he needs to go.
Ultimately, it is his career, and he has to make the decision who he wants to listen to, why he wants to listen to them, and then go forward from there. So you need to narrow that focus a little bit. That was kind of the message I gave to him. Who is in your circle? Who is your guy that you’re going to trust? Hopefully, over time we build a relationship, and it’s people in Mariners uniforms that are on our staff that he can trust and work with and feel good about.
Mike Zunino is going to be a very good major league player. There’s no doubt in my mind, Jerry’s mind, or anyone else. It’s just when. He will let us know.
Q. Scott, you’ve been with Jerry for a good while now. You know how he operates. Does he appear even more driven by the circumstances where he left Los Angeles? Does it seem like he’s really out to prove something?
SS: No, not any more than normal. Jerry has always been driven. He’s a workaholic. He loves his job. Putting teams together and putting people together and creating a culture for everyone can learn. So not any more driven than I’ve ever seen him.
Q. Going back to Zunino a little bit, he had done some stuff at the end of the season based on stuff Edgar wanted him to do. Did he feel he was making progress on those changes?
SS: Yeah, and I’ve talked to Edgar (Martinez) a lot too about where he’s at. I think, as far as organizationally, the hitting program, the pitching program, what we’re doing at the big league level and transferring down to the minor league level is going to be huge to get all those things in place. That’s what the good organizations have. They have that synergy. That’s what the St. Louis Cardinals have. That’s what the Kansas City Royals have. I was a part of that when I was at Texas for a while.
I think getting on the Zunino thing, making sure he understands exactly what the expectations are and the changes he needs to make, but ultimately, Mike has to believe it, and it’s Mike’s career. We’re here to help him, and we’ll do everything we can, give him all the tools to be successful, and he’s going to be.
Q. Scott, a veteran manager once told me that it’s often easier for him to manage against other veteran managers, even the great ones, because he knows their tendencies.
SS: Nobody knows mine.
Q. Right. But flipping that around, how important will it be to you at all to understand other managers’ tendencies going into series?
SS: I think it’s important, knowing kind of how other teams — how the other manager is wired. You don’t know everything they’re going to do. You have a feel. You have an advanced scouting report, stuff like that.
Fortunately for me, I’m very well versed in the American League West. I’ve spent a lot of time there the last ten years. Know the clubs, know the personnel on the field. It can be important. I’m not going to downplay it, but I kind of look at it as I’m the guy they don’t know. That’s my advantage right now.
Q. Scott, you acquired (Nori) Aoki recently. Any chances of Kenta Maeda also joining?
SS: I’ll let Jerry answer that one. I’m really excited to have Aoki. I think he’s going to be a great fit in our club. He’s a guy gets on base, can play a lot of different positions in the outfield. Great fit for our team. I’ll let Jerry talk about the other stuff.
Q. Scott, I’m from Baltimore. So I got to see Nelson Cruz for a year there under Buck Showalter. Do you see him as predominantly an everyday outfielder, or do you think he should DH a good portion of the time?
SS: I think it’s a combination. I do know that Nelson’s numbers were much better when he played in the field, his offensive numbers from last year. He wants to play in the field. I also want him to play every day. Knowing that the travel in Seattle is rough, there may have to be a few more DH days, and we’ll have to see how that plays out.
Nelson is a big part of our time. I have a relationship with him from our days in Texas. I talk to him a lot. I’m looking forward to him helping me lead and take care of some things in the clubhouse.
Q. With the types of things you guys have been doing, it looks like a team that wants to win now. Is that an added pressure on you as a first time manager?
SS: I think those guys that I had lunch with today, those other 29 managers, we all have pressure to win. So these jobs, like somebody told me right after I got a chance to manage, was there’s only one thing guaranteed, and that’s your compensation. The opportunity and the chance to lead an organization is never really guaranteed. It’s always tied to winning and the progress moving forward.
Seattle has not won in a long time. And the expectations there, they’re high, from ownership and team president and the fans. They should be. It’s time. It’s time to win. Jerry knows that we’re going to have to do something a little bit different with our roster and how we play to get a different result. That’s why he’s doing it.
Q. So Chris Iannetta is a guy you’re familiar with. What makes you believe he can have kind of a bounce back year after a tough year?
SS: Chris does some things that I really appreciate in the fact that what he does — calling the game, working with the pitching staff, really, really important. He did not have a typical Chris Iannetta season last year. He had a rough start to the season is what happened, and he got buried early. It happens to players. It certainly happened to me in my career.
I think you look at a major league career, not a lot of guys play ten years in the big leagues. Chris has played a long time. You’re going to have two or three bad years and two or three good years. Kind of what happens in the middle is who you are. Chris had a rough year. That’s why we were able to get him at the price point we’re at. We have an opportunity.
I talk to Chris a lot. I talked to him yesterday. I look at Chris. Leonys Martín, similar type player. We’re hoping for a bounce back year. That’s how you’re able to get those guys.
Q. Steve Clevenger, you know a little bit about him. Your thoughts and Jerry’s thoughts. You gave up a good package for him.
SS: I have some thoughts on Steve. I have not seen him a lot. I do know it’s probably more offense than defense. We like the left-handed bat and how that fits the matchup with Chris going forward there. Get a chance to know him better in Spring Training, but our scouts liked him, liked the bat.
Obviously, I’m a catching guy. I have a background there. He’s got some things to tighten up defensively, but he should be a good fit for our bullpen.
Q. More like an ex-catcher, (Jesus) Montero, I know time is ticking on his opportunities. Do you think he can bounce back?
SS: He will not catch. He’ll be first base, bat. There’s a spot for him on our club. He needs to perform well during Spring Training and going forward into the season. We’d really like him to be able to mash those left-handed pitchers. That would be great. I think he knows what’s ahead of him.
Q. Have you had a chance to talk much with (Robinson) Cano? How’s he doing health-wise?
SS: Health-wise, Robbie is great. He’s working out off-season. Talked to him a number of times. Manny Acta, the third base coach, has a good relationship with Robbie. Manny is in the Dominican and will be touching base with him frequently.
Robbie is a good spot. He does know he got off to a slow start last year. He had a great second half, playing injured, but great player. Lucky to have him. Going to be a big part of our team going forward.
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It has been a busy time for the Mariners baseball operations department during the last few weeks, as the group has been putting its team together not just on the field, but in the front office. As ESPN’s Jayson Stark noted on twitter, “Jerry Dipoto is the early leader for most hyperactive GM. Already two trades involving nine players, one signing (Gutierrez) and two waiver claims!”
General Manager Jerry Dipoto, VP & Assistant G.M. Jeff Kingston, VP of Player Personnel Tom Allison & Special Assistant to the G.M. Joe Bohringer were in Boca Raton, FL for the G.M. meetings during the early part of this week and at the conclusion of those sessions, they made a trip to the Dominican Republic.
Dipoto, Kingston, Allison and Bohringer were joined at the Mariners Dominican Baseball Academy by Manager Scott Servais and Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz. The group will be there through the weekend checking in with the staff and players and watching games during the instructional league at the academy before they return home to Seattle.
Scott Servais was introduced to the Seattle media on Monday as the new field manager for the Seattle Mariners (watch the entire news conference here). During a wide ranging news conference, he covered many topics including his path to the dugout, how to prepare a player for the Big Leagues, the importance of analytics, and why he considers himself a football coach in a baseball uniform.
Here are some of the highlights.
What kind of team will the Mariners be under Scott Servais’ leadership?
We will be prepared. I guarantee you we will be prepared. We will be disciplined in how we play. We will play with energy. And I believe it’s okay to show emotion once in a while. And we will compete. And competing is not trying hard. Everybody tries hard in the Big Leagues. I never met a Big Leaguer who didn’t try hard. But we are going to compete every night. I think the big thing is the Mariners fans deserve that.
What’s the difference between trying hard and competing?
Everybody tries hard. I never met a player who didn’t. Competing is making adjustments throughout the game to figure out how to beat the guy out on the mound. Or if you’re out on the mound, figuring out how to beat the guy in the batter’s box. That’s competing. It’s mental and physical. It’s not just physical and trying hard. That’s how I would look at it.
Working with young players as well as veterans.
Players today, seem to respond a little bit better from a pat on the back than maybe screaming at them. The veteran player deserves a certain amount of respect that he has been around the game. It doesn’t mean that he’s not held accountable. All the good teams I was ever on, or were part of, teams in Texas that went to the World Series, the players policed themselves. When your veteran crew buys into the vision, all players want to play for something bigger than themselves. They do. They all want to play in the playoffs. They all want to play in the World Series. That’s why they play. And to get your veteran players on board, and let them hold others accountable as well, is really important.
Managers he’s learned from…
You look at what they’re doing and how they handle situations and people. I played in Chicago for the Cubs and Jim Riggleman was the manager there. Jim gave me a lot of confidence. I was a younger player, trying to establish myself through being out there in an everyday role and he trusted my decision making. I played for Dusty Baker in San Francisco on a very talented team. Dusty was hands down probably the best players’ manager I played for. Clint Hurdle is a guy that I’ve been exposed to. We hired Clint in Texas, when I was there, as a hitting instructor. Clint has unbelievable presence. Clint has the ability to connect an entire organization. I learned a lot from him. The manager I wished I would have played for was Bobby Cox. I thought Bobby Cox did an unbelievable job in Atlanta. Bobby Cox came from the Front Office and went in the dugout. But Bobby Cox had energy, he welcomed young players. Even though he had the stud pitching, he always had the young players coming in – Chipper Jones, Javy Lopez, Raphael Furcal, Andruw Jones, they were always coming and he realized that was his lifeblood, that’s what makes it turn.
What do the Mariners need to do to win more games? What is team missing?
We need to do a better job of getting on base. That’s the one thing that we have to get better at. We have to create more opportunities to score runs. It’s really hard to hit home runs every night and win games. Nelly (Nelson Cruz) had an unbelievable year last year, we know what Robbie can do, what Seager’s about. The core is there. When putting the roster together, you’ve got to have balance. You’ve got to have depth. There are going to be injuries. There are going to be guys who don’t perform the way you think they’re going to perform. When I say depth, I’m talking about your AAA club. You gotta get guys you can go get, pop them in there and they gotta help produce. I’ll let Jerry and the staff upstairs worry about putting the group together. I’m sure they’ll ask me a few questions along the way, but I’m looking at what do we need to do as a club. Getting on base is probably the number one thing we need to tighten up.
Pitching and defense wins championships.
Pitching and defense is what’s playing right now, the teams that are playing in the World Series. Pitching and defense should always be our strength here. Pitching and knowing the ballpark and using it to your strength. The defensive part, putting athletic players on the field that can cover up this outfield, make the plays on the infield. The hitting, you’re not going to bang the ball out of the ballpark every night. I get it. Fortunately, on our staff is the greatest hitter that ever wore a Mariners uniform (Edgar Martinez), he gets it. For me, it’s about creating opportunities, getting on base, keeping pressure on the opposition. But pitching and defense has to be a priority here. We should be here, hopefully, at the top of the League standings every year in those categories.
Information is power.
It’s very important. It’s the way the game is going. If you try to fight it, you’re going to end up losing. You know, why not? It’s information. You have to use it. You have to put it in play. I’m not the guy that comes up with the formulas and spits out the numbers. Like I said earlier, I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know. But what I do know is that when somebody’s showing me that when we have a deficiency in a certain area, my job is how do we fix it? How do we attack the deficiency? How do we get better? I’ve used this term often, I’m a ‘why’ coach. Why is that happening? What are we going to do to fix it here? We couldn’t get the bunt down in the seventh inning. Is it because we didn’t have the right form to bunt, or is it because we didn’t really want to bunt? You have to be willing to run with it. But there’s also some feel to it, and some experience level of being a baseball guy. It goes hand in hand.
A football coach in a baseball uniform.
What I mean by that is I think football coaches are the most prepared and detailed of any of the coaches because they practice so much, they have to be. And in football, the game is won at the line of scrimmage. Over at CenturyLink, they control the line of scrimmage, they win the game… Where is the line of scrimmage in baseball? For me, the line of scrimmage in baseball is the strike zone. You have to control the strike zone, whether you’re on the mound or in the batter’s box. Controlling the strike zone, swinging at good pitches, getting deep in counts, walking maybe a little bit more. And on the flip side, controlling the strike zone, keeping the pitch count down, getting deep in the games, having a chance to win games as a starting pitcher, that’s where it happens, in the strike zone. So looking at the numbers, is there any particular number? Walks to strikeout. Pitching side, hitting side, that’s where the game is won.
Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto & Manager Scott Servais announced today the following Major League coaching staff assignments:
- Tim Bogar – Bench Coach
- Edgar Martinez – Hitting Coach
- Mel Stottlemyre Jr. – Pitching Coach
- Chris Woodward – First Base Coach
Bogar, 48 (will turn 49 on Oct. 28), spent the 2015 season as the Los Angeles Angels Special Assistant to the General Manager. Prior to joining the Angels, he spent the 2014 season on the Texas Rangers coaching staff as bench coach and interim manager (replaced Ron Washington on Sept. 5, 2014). During his time as Rangers manager, he guided the club to a 14-8 mark. From 2009-12, he spent four seasons on the Major League staff for the Boston Red Sox, serving as bench coach (2012), third base coach (2010-11) and first base coach (2009). He spent the 2008 season as the quality assurance coach for the A.L. champion Tampa Bay Rays. Bogar owns a 362-266 (.576) career record as a minor league manager in the Indians (2006-07), Astros (2004-05) and Angels (2013) organizations. In his five seasons at the helm, his teams reached their league’s championship round four times, while he was named manager of the year three times. Bogar played shortstop primarily during a nine-year Major League career with the New York-NL (1993-96), Houston (1997-2000) and Los Angeles-NL (2001). He was originally selected by the Mets in the eighth round of the 1987 June draft out of Eastern Illinois University.
Martinez, 52, returns to the Mariners coaching staff after being named hitting coach on June 21, 2015. After taking over as hitting coach, the Mariners ranked 3rd in the American League in slugging percentage (.437) and 4th in home runs (130), extra-base hits (305) and OPS (.758) over the final 94 games of the season, batting .260 (846×3255) with 426 runs scored, 165 doubles, 10 triples, 130 home runs and 408 RBI. He has spent the past several seasons working as a guest hitting instructor at Spring Training, and had an extended schedule during the first half of the 2015 season working in Seattle’s minor league system. Martinez had an 18-year Major League career, all with the Mariners. In 2,055 career games, he hit .312 (2247×7213) with 1,219 runs scored, 514 doubles, 15 triples, 309 home runs and 1,261 RBI. Martinez won two AL Batting Titles (1992 & 1995), three AL On-Base Percentage Titles (1995, 1998 and 1999), five Silver Sluggers® (1992, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003 and five DH of the Year Awards (1995, 1997, 1998, 2000 & 2001). Upon his retirement, Major League Baseball re-named the DH of the Year Award the Edgar Martinez Award. Martinez was enshrined in the Mariners Hall of Fame in 2007. He was the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award in 2004.
Stottlemyre Jr., 51, has spent the past 13 years in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, most recently as its bullpen coach (2014-15) following stints as its minor league pitching coordinator (2011-13), Major League pitching coach (2009-10), minor league pitching coordinator (2007-09), and minor league pitching coach with affiliates in Missoula (2005-06), El Paso (2004), Lancaster (2003) and Yakima (2002). The Yakima native began his coaching career as the pitching coach with the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 2001. He pitched in six minor league seasons in the Houston (1985-1987) and Kansas City (1987-1990) organizations, combining to go 25-24 with a 3.50 ERA (162 ER, 416.2 IP) with 24 saves in 122 appearances including 57 starts. He pitched briefly in the Majors with Kansas City, going 0-1 with a 4.88 ERA (17 ER, 31.1 IP) in 13 games including 2 starts in 1990. He was originally selected by Houston in the first round of the 1985 January Draft and was previously drafted by Seattle in the 28th round of the 1982 June Draft but did not sign.
Woodward, 39, spent the last two seasons as a coach on the Mariners staff, including last season as first base coach. He began his coaching career with the Mariners in 20013 as the Minor League Infield Coordinator after retiring from a 17-year professional baseball career. With the Mariners last season he played a key role in the growth of infielders Ketel Marte and Chris Taylor as they elevated to the Major League level, and worked closely with Gold Glove third baseman Kyle Seager and shortstop Brad Miller. Woodward played nearly every position on the diamond during his 12 seasons at the Major League level with the Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2004, 2011), New York Mets (2005-06), Atlanta Braves (2007), Seattle Mariners (2009, 2010) and the Boston Red Sox (2009).
Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto announced today that Scott Servais (pronounced ‘service’) has been named as the Seattle Mariners new manager.
“Through the course of the 20-plus years I’ve known Scott, I’ve come to see him as one of the most complete, well balanced and inclusive baseball people in the industry,” Dipoto said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to call him a teammate as a player, while also having worked closely with him as an organizational leader in both Colorado and Los Angeles. He is a communicator with strong baseball acumen and leadership skills. I truly believe his strong character and career experiences as a player, coach and executive have prepared him for this opportunity.”
Servais, 48, spent the past four seasons as the Los Angeles Angels Assistant General Manager, Scouting and Player Development. In that role, he worked closely with Dipoto on all aspects of baseball operations, with a focus on player development.
“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to manage the Seattle Mariners,” Servais said. “It has long been my goal to manage a big league team and while I took a slightly different path than many, I am confident in my ability to lead. We have a terrific core of players and I’m looking forward to bringing in a coaching staff that will help me establish a winning culture here as we work toward putting a championship-caliber team on the field for the fans of the Northwest.”
Servais is the 17th full-time skipper in Mariners history.
Prior to joining the Angels, Scott spent the previous six seasons (2006-2011) as the Texas Rangers Senior Director of Player Development. With the Rangers he was responsible for the on-field development of all players in the Rangers minor league system. He was also responsible for instructing Texas’ Major League catchers.
Scott spent one season (2005) as a professional scout for the Rockies, after spending the prior two years as a roving catching instructor for the Chicago Cubs (2003-04).
Scott had an 11-year Major League playing career (1991-2001) with the Houston Astros (1991-95, 2001), Chicago Cubs (1995-98), San Francisco Giants (1999-2000) and Colorado Rockies (2000). He batted .245 with 30 doubles, 63 home runs and 319 RBI in 820 career MLB games. He ranked among the top-three NL catchers in fielding percentage in three separate seasons.
Servais played college baseball at Creighton University (his head coach was former Cubs GM Jim Hendry) and was inducted into the Creighton Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003. He was a member of Team USA, winning a Silver Medal in the Pan Am Games in 1987 and a Gold Medal in the 1988 Olympics (Seoul, South Korea). He earned USA Baseball’s Alumni Award in 1994.
Servais was drafted by the New York Mets in the second round (scout: Terry Ryan) out of high school but did not sign. He was selected in the third round of the 1988 June Draft following his junior year of college. Scott is a native of Coon Valley, WI and graduated from Westby High School (WI) in 1985.
Scott and his wife Jill have three children: Tyler (11/18/92) recently graduated from Princeton University and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers; Jacqueline (9/12/94) who is enrolled at UNC Charlotte where she played volleyball and is currently interning with the Carolina Panthers; and Victoria (9/2/97) who attends Ole Miss University.