Mariners’ Servais: ‘We have our best baseball yet ahead of us’
Jul 12, 2023, 11:18 AM | Updated: 1:35 pm
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Seattle was the center of the baseball world over the last week, with MLB All-Star festivities taking place at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners were well-represented at the event, with three players – outfielder Julio Rodríguez and pitchers George Kirby and Luis Castillo – making the American League squad. Additionally, M’s manager Scott Servais was part of the AL coaching staff.
“This is the least anxious I’ve ever been in this dugout, I’ll tell you that,” Servais told Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob from the American League dugout ahead of Tuesday’s All-Star Game, which the National League won 3-2.
Servais, a longtime MLB catcher back in his playing days, said he was proud of his trio of All-Stars for making it to the big game.
“This is quite the accomplishment for those guys. These are the best in the world,” he said. “I played in this league for a long time and got nowhere close to an All-Star Game. It’s hard to get here. So to be recognized by the fans, your peers, the other coaches and the league, it’s a big accomplishment.”
2nd half surge coming for Seattle Mariners?
The Mariners had their ups and downs in the first half of the 2023 season, but they did enter the All-Star Break on a high note, winning seven of their last nine games and their final three series. Additionally, those three series wins came over winning teams in the Tampa Bay Rays, San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros.
“I think we’ve started (a run). It’s certainly got a better feel to it,” Servais said.
As has been the case all year for the Mariners when they’ve played well, it starts with the starting rotation.
“Our pitching has just been fantastic all year long, and none better than what we just saw on the recent roadtrip,” Servais said. “What Logan Gilbert’s been able to do, of course Luis and George are here today in the All-Star Game, the two young guys – (Bryce) Miller and (Bryan) Woo – have been fantastic. So we’re gonna continue to lean on our pitching.”
Seattle has had maybe MLB’s best pitching staff this season, but the bats have largely lagged behind. That may be changing, though, as was the case over the team’s final nine games of the first half.
“We’re starting to see signs of more consistency from our offense,” Servais said. “Mike Ford has done a nice job chipping in as a DH, so we’re getting some production from the bottom of the lineup. I think the key for us in the second half is going to be offensive consistency. Like I said, I really like our pitching, but we’re gonna have to find a way (on offense). If we can find a way to score four runs every night, we’re really, really good. But it’s a challenge some nights. Everybody’s got to chip in. We need a really productive Julio, of course, near the top, (Jarred) Kelenic, keep him going, Geno (Suárez), Teo (Hernández). We’ve got guys that can get it done and have done it before. So I am excited about the second half.
“I do think we have our best baseball yet ahead of us.”
Is Servais involved in trade talks?
Servais has been in charge of the Mariners’ dugout since the 2016 season. During that time, he’s worked alongside then-general manager Jerry Dipoto, who is now the team’s president of baseball operations.
Under Dipoto, the Mariners have made a lot of trades, including at the trade deadline. This year, that deadline is Aug. 2.
So how involved is Servais in any potential trades the Mariners may make?
“I think the communication is always good,” he said. “But at the end of the day, Jerry and (Mariners general manager) Justin Hollander, they do a great job (along with the) analytical group in the front office of putting ideas together in different ways to get our team better. And it may not be what everybody’s looking at – it may be a different way to marginally get us better. And for the most part, I stay out of it. My focus is on our club and the 26 guys I’ve got and getting them ready to play every night to go out compete and win a game. And that’s the way it should be.”
Before joining the Mariners as manager, Servais did spend time in front offices. Now, he says he trusts Dipoto and his staff to make the right deals. And avoid the wrong ones.
“I just know for me, I really, really trust the guys upstairs,” Servais said. “They know what’s best for our club. We talk all the time on how we need to get better and then you let them go out and do their thing. And if we get things done, great. If we don’t, I understand that, too. It’s really hard to make trades. I don’t think people understand how hard it is.”
Listen to Wyman and Bob’s full conversation with Servais at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story.