This Mariners spring training marks the second for Scott Servais as a manager, and as MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds sees it, Servais looks much more at home in charge of the team now than a year ago.
“He’s a lot calmer,” Reynolds remarked to 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Bob, Groz and Tom.”
Reynolds, a former Mariners second baseman, was in camp in Peoria, Ariz., to report for MLB Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days” feature, which was focused on the M’s on Tuesday. It was easy to tell that he impressed during his interview with Bob Stelton, Dave Grosby and Tom Wassell, especially when it came to how Servais and general manager Jerry Dipoto are running the team.
“It’s a very organized camp,” he said. “(Servais) is very hands on. I think that takes time for players to get used to.”
It isn’t just the players that are more at ease with the Servais-Dipoto regime’s way of doing things this time around, either. Reynolds talked about how Servais’ coaching staff seems more confident now.
“Last spring, he felt like, ‘I gotta train these guys in what I’m thinking and how I’m seeing it.’ And now they came to spring training this year and it’s like ‘Oh, I know what you’re looking for.'”
As important as the communication is between the manager and his coaching staff or the manager and his players, Reynolds believes there’s another person that it’s even more vital for Servais to be in step with. And when it comes to that, the Mariners are ahead of the game considering Servais and Dipoto worked together extensively before joining up again in Seattle.
“I think the No. 1 relationship in any organization is manager and the general manager,” he said. “If they’re not getting along or seeing things on the same page, you’re gonna have problems. I think they’ve got that in Seattle where these two have known each other a long time, they trust each other and it’s the direction they feel like they need to go in. … I think it’s a good fit right now.”
That’s good news considering the amount of moves Dipoto made this offseason, which is something that could have rattled a manager that didn’t have as close of a relationship to the GM. Reynolds believes the Mariners are running out of time to do something significant with their core group of stars that includes Robinson Cano (34 years old), Nelson Cruz (36) and Felix Hernandez (30), and he credited that as the reason for Dipoto keeping himself so busy.
“Cano’s gonna be making a lot of money in his latter years and you want to take advantage of those dollars right now and get that championship. I think he’s playing some of the best baseball he’s ever played in his career, and we’re talking about a guy who’s had a Hall of Fame career so far, but you definitely have to seize the moment of when these guys are in that prime. I really think that’s what kinda drove all the turnover in Seattle this winter that we saw that Jerry Dipoto pulled off.”