Mariners 3B coach Manny Acta: ‘Special group’ of players being led by Manager of the Year Scott Servais
Mariners third base coach Manny Acta has been around the game of baseball for a long time and boy, is he having a blast with this 2021 ballclub.
Acta didn’t waste any time talking about where the team stands heading into a three-game series with the Angels.
“It’s a really exciting day as everybody knows and everybody should be,” he said. “It’s been a lot of hard work and we have destiny in our own hands, the way that we wanted to.”
Acta said there were a lot of times the Mariners were counted out, but this group of players always rebounded in a big way.
“This is a special group. And it hasn’t just been these past couple of weeks,” he said. “All season these guys have shown an unbelievable amount of character. We had suffered some really ugly losses and had letdowns and stuff like that and the very next day these guys show up like nothing (happened) and come right back and win games … They’re very young and all we need to do now is hey, it’s just another game everyday like they’ve been doing it and control what we can.”
And the players have been “outstanding,” but Acta made sure to give credit all across the organization for why the Mariners are tied for a playoff spot.
“I tell you what, this is the biggest example of players play, coaches coach and the front office builds a roster and runs the 40-man roster,” he said.
“They have bought into everything we’re trying to do here,” Acta said of the players. “The leadership of guys like Marco (Gonzales) and (Kyle) Seager and (Mitch) Haniger and (Tom) Murphy, the energy and the stellar play of guys like J.P. (Crawford) and Ty France. Those guys, they lead the energy bus every single day. And then you have the young guys who’ve come up and stepped up at the right time, guys like (Logan) Gilbert, guys like (Jarred) Kelenic. We all knew these guys were going to be good up here at a certain point. And then the other guys who’ve been plugged in and done their thing.”
“When it comes to the coaching,” Acta added, “… the job Scott (Servais) has done has been outstanding. The preparation that he puts in (is great). The pitching coaches, (Pete) Woodworth and his group of guys there with the whole analytical department, it’s been outstanding. He and Trent (Blank) put together a plan on an everyday basis and the pitching staff buys into it and dominates the zone and that’s paid off.”
Acta gave a lot of credit to the Mariners’ front office, too, especially for finding guys like Paul Sewald and Drew Steckenrider in free agency to come lead the bullpen. He also pointed to the trade deadline as a key turning point for the team.
“Then comes the July trading deadline and some people were not happy, but these people know what they’re doing,” he said. “(Diego) Castillo comes in and (Abraham) Toro comes in, Tyler Anderson comes in and the results are there … I’ve been in the game for a lot of years and to me, this is the typical definition of players play, coaches coach and front office builds the 40-man roster and everything works out the way it has.”
Manager of the Year
Acta is a former manager himself, so he knows what it takes to run a team. He’s extremely impressed by the job Servais has done, and he thinks that the Mariners skipper deserves to be named American League Manager of the Year.
“We’re being biased, but hey, so be it,” he said.
Acta said that Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash deserves consideration for the job he’s done there, but that the Rays went to the World Series last year and everyone expected them to be good once again.
“In our case, I think it’s been a totally different story. No one was anticipating us to be here and no one was even anticipating us playing .500 baseball,” Acta said. “We’ve been able to turn things around here and compete a lot quicker than people were thinking and the credit goes to Scott who’s in charge of everything. He’s the captain of the ship and I think he’s done an outstanding job. So yes, to me, he should be the Manager of the Year because the expectations coming into the season were not this high and at the end of the day, he’s responsible for carrying us as far as we’ve gotten.”
Listen to the full interview at this link or in the player below.