Mariners name Servais manager
Former catcher and Angels executive has close ties to GM Dipoto
SEATTLE -- New general manager Jerry Dipoto has wasted no time putting his unique stamp on the Mariners, naming Angels assistant GM Scott Servais as Seattle's new manager on Friday.
A news conference was held on Monday at Safeco Field to introduce Servais as the replacement for Lloyd McClendon, who was dismissed on Oct. 9 with one year remaining on his contract.
"I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to manage the Seattle Mariners," Servais (pronounced "service") 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."
The 48-year-old former catcher has no prior managing experience, but he worked alongside Dipoto the past four years in the Angels' front office after six seasons as the Rangers' director of player development.
Servais joins a growing list of Major League managers with no prior experience. Brad Ausmus of the Tigers, Walt Weiss of the Rockies, Mike Matheny of the Cardinals, Craig Counsell of the Brewers and Robin Ventura of the White Sox had never been a manager or coach before being hired, while others like Bryan Price of the Reds, Paul Molitor of the Twins and recently dismissed Don Mattingly of the Dodgers and Bud Black of the Padres had only coaching experience on their resumes.
After bumping heads for 3 1/2 seasons with long-time manager Mike Scioscia in Anaheim, Dipoto said upon his hiring with Seattle last month that having a trusting relationship between GM and skipper was paramount, and he wound up opting for a long-time ally in Servais to become the 20th manager in Mariners history.
"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 played with Dipoto for the first five months of the 2000 season, when Dipoto was a reliever for the Rockies, and Servais was a pro scout for the Rockies in '05, when Dipoto was their director of player development.
Servais then became director of player development with the Rangers in 2006 -- and he was credited in part with helping spark Nelson Cruz's offensive improvement -- before he was one of the first hires made by Dipoto in his tenure as GM with the Angels.
Servais was in charge of scouting and player development with the Angels, but he wanted to get back on the field. He recently interviewed for the Padres' managerial opening as well.
Tim Bogar, who was hired by the Angels as Dipoto's special assistant last November, is expected to join the Mariners as Servais' bench coach. Bogar was the bench coach for the Rangers in 2014, and he then went 14-8 as interim manager in Texas after Ron Washington stepped down late in the season.
Bogar, 48, has extensive coaching and managing experience, and he will serve as Servais' right-hand man in the dugout. The former Major League infielder spent five years as a coach with the Rays and Red Sox before becoming manager of the Angels' Double-A Arkansas team in 2013 and taking that club to the Texas League finals with a 73-66 record.
The Mariners already have invited hitting coach Edgar Martinez and infield coach Chris Woodward to retain their positions, and both are expected to return, though neither has signed a new contract yet.
Dipoto steered away from traditional managerial candidates after dismissing McClendon. Dipoto interviewed a handful of candidates, including Rays third-base coach Charlie Montoyo, Red Sox special assistant Jason Varitek and Phil Nevin, who has been a Triple-A manager for the D-backs the past two years.
None of those candidates have been Major League managers, but Dipoto clearly is looking to create an organization with his own vision. He made Rockies sports psychologist Andy McKay his new farm director on Wednesday, even though Dipoto had no prior connection with the former Sacramento City College coach, who has never held a front-office position.
Dipoto has retained a core of the previous Mariners' front office, however, including assistant GM Jeff Kingston, amateur scouting director Tom McNamara and pro scouting director Tom Allison.