Editor's Choice
Servais' managing as subject to fair discussion as Valencia's hitting is


Moe sez,


Martin is broken.  Did you hear the comment about his return to a higher hands approach at the plate?  If you go all of ST and 2 weeks of the season with a new approach AND then toss it aside it means you're lbroken; perhaps only for the time being, but you're broken.  Mike Fiers is a career 1.25 WHIP and 3.84 ERA guy.  He's not bad.  If Martin starts tonight I will yell at my TV.  Oaths may be included.  Hide your women and children.


And Blissed sez,


You're spot on with Martin. He had a few moments early last season but over the past 5 months of play has been mostly a rally-killer. Too many other good options to continue down the path of his name inked into the lineup. Let's open that competition back up for AB's Servais! Spring Training wasn't the end of the battle for starting jobs was it?


Dr. D sez, He'd be interested to hear your lucid, 1-syllable explanations for why the OF rotation did not survive the plane flight out of Arizona.  He doesn't remember the OF bench being frozen out like this even during the Griffey-Buhner days.  Just don't get it.

Great point about revamping the swing in week 1 Moe.


Blissed also sez,


Looking forward to seeing Motter in the OF and 1B mix when Segura comes back. He put up some decent numbers in AA/AAA in 2014-15.


Dr. D sez, he hasn't studied Motter at all.  Did he hit in 14-15 and then get tweaked or divorced or something in 16?  Youse guys think he has a chance to be a good role player, perhaps vs LHPs as Dipotos says?


MisterJonez sez,


They'd make you answer a minimum of 70 or 80 questions (LPN vs. RN, don't remember which was which) but they'd *randomly* throw out the results for something like 20 of them.  If you got enough of the not-thrown-out questions right, the test stopped then and there and you got your license.  If you didn't get enough right, you had to answer more questions until the system was satisfied you were either good to go or in need of a re-take.  Thankfully there was also a maximum number of questions that could be asked (200 something?).

Seemed pretty bizarre to me, but hey--maybe it would work wonders for parity in sports leagues?


In a sense that's kind of what they do in sports -- give you a pass when you're out of synch and take it with a grain of salt when you're super hot.  But still ... would like to know more about the theory here.  Throw out 20 of 80 Q's randomly?  Whyfor?  Maybe just to make sure the test was slightly different from everybody else's?


Tacoma Rain sez,

[Servais' bullpen usage seems chaotic]

Dr. D sez, Yeah it does.  I like Scott Servais but as a chessplayer, he shows the signs I'm used to seeing from somebody who "loses the thread" during the moment-to-moment conflict.  Not saying he has done so; just saying some signs are there consistent with that.

SSI is not the type of place to start fretting about the manager based on 2-and-8.  It is these curiosities that have our attention early.  Think these curiosities will gain the players' attention if the record gets to 4-13?

Seattle managers who had nice first years, and none after that, include Lloyd McClendonDon Wakamatsu, and Bob Melvin - every Seattle manager in fact who HAD a good first year, other than Lou Piniella.  Hargrove, McLaren and Wedge never had winning years.

Again, I'm a Servais supporter.  But would be interested to hear what Denizens regard as his pros and cons.







Getting to the point where teams fire managers and our guy's apprenticeship is pretty much complete, I'd say.


Too much one of the boys to take charge?  Or one of the rare superstars who can command a bench?  Be interesting to see a Walter Alston in Seattle, deigning to sign contracts one year at a time until long after you and I are gone.

May want to serve as governor for a term or two first.  :- )


...is right where I want him. Not sure our current manager is so at fault that he's gotta be done to improve the situation... but if so, it would be interesting to see if Bogar got a shot. As for 'Gar, A.) I don't know if his skills translate to the manager's role (not saying they DON'T... just saying I don't KNOW), and B.) He does pretty darn well where he is, and moving him out - even to a more important job - creates a very large hole.

GregfromSpokane's picture

I had high hopes for Servais, as you do for all managers starting out. Hoped he'd be

more sabremetric, logical and willing to stretch the managerial "envelope". So far,

to the contrary,  he seems very conventional in his decisions and bullpen usage. So

it's back to the jimmys and the joes. How long will the good ship Mariner sail in this

direction before we get a course correction? Still wish we would have went with an

extra bench bat instead of our crummy #11 reliever  Having the guys available

doesn't mean you use them properly. Lou would bring in a guy seemingly at random

and he'd get 3 hits. No manager since has seemed to make any difference, except


Nathan H's picture

His major bug-a-boo last year was his bullpen usage. His biggest bug-a-boo so far this year has been his bullpen usage. Perhaps he's getting "State-of-the-art, groundbreaking" data guiding him from the info team. Maybe he overrides the info team based on his gut feel. How would we know? Once we have a better understanding of his thought processes we can pick them apart.

One thing's fer sure, what he's doin' now ain't workin'.


I think Servais imagines that he is being mible in his bullpen management...rapidly pushing guys who pitch well for a short stretch into important game spots, and rapidly demoting guys who struggle.  There is a virtue in being flexible enough not to get hung by the same guy a bunch of times in a row if he's not working out. But, I think, in Servais' case, it's coming out shrill...the relievers have no idea where they stand and the team has no confidence in any of them.


He would be crystal clear on what relievers like and don't like.  In terms of roles.

But that's an interesting talking point.  Having 9,000 facts come at me from 10,000 directions, when I already "know" what is right... it can be confusing.  Lot of chess errors occur that way too.


maybe back in February, asking what was up with Motter because he was a good prospect early that suddenly disappeared a coupe years back?  If I recall correctly. 


Have looked around for evidence that something specific went wrong for Motter in 2016.  I don't see any "death in the family" "swing mechanics got messed up" or "injuries ruined the year" type articles.

Will say this much:

His minor league K rate and K/BB do not suggest that he should have trouble hitting for average. And we've seen him hitting a bunch of balls very hard.  In 2015, he had 60 XBH in 128 games.  That's...um...pretty good. :)

Maybe we got really...really lucky here.


is 'cause that kid can tear the laces off the ball.

Have seen him turn around good inside heat, wait back on soft stuff, go high, low, hold up clean on RH sliders low away .... There is no way he could be Nomar Garciaparra of course, but whatever his holes are I ain't seen 'em yet.

With Jean Segura what would the M's even do with a Ben Zobrist type 10th man :- )


Except Haniger I think is getting caught up swinging for the fences.  Like Griffey after the 8 consecutive games with a HR, it will make him a different player.  Griffey had the .330 BA to come down from while striking out more, Haniger probably doesn't have nearly that comfort zone.  Plus we're talking about rookie year vs. a few years in the league already.  Be yourself Mitch.

But the point was I'm not seeing holes with Motter either kind of like I wasn't seeing them with Maniger.  He also seems to be the best SS on the team though it's hard to say for sure without more data and visuals.


RIght now, his K rate is 27% in the big leagues...that'll come down as he settles in, but even if it didn't...that's not a serious problem. Meanwhile, his BB rate is 15%. If he did that all year, that would give him a GREAT season.

BTW, his BABIP is a normal .291...but his xBABIP is .355 based on his exit velocities.  Just...FWIW.

His stock has gone significant UP if you ask me.


That would be playing the cards you're dealt though.  More likely to just move Motter there. 


What you were saying is what had me watching him more in spring and I was glad you pointed at him.  I might not have seen as much if I didn't see the target myself until weeks later.

When he was acquired with Shaffer (not looking up spelling) there were some tongue in cheek comments about stealing the next Zobrist from Tampa.  Not looking like a joke at this point.  I see a very Mark McLemore  type player in him.  We'll see how the hot streak continues but if he's putting it together already he's doing so younger than Mark and controlled as long as Cano.  For a few dollars less, of course.


You and I think alike on the XB thing.  I've written, several times, that once you get to 5-6 50+ XB guys, your offense hits the afterburners.

Lsst year we had 4, really:  Cruz, Seager, Cano and the Lind/Lee combo.  Well, Zunino had that kind of rate, once he came up.

Zobrist has had 72, 66, 51, 47, 52 and 52 over the past 6 seasons.  His great value isn't merely in his flexibility (O'Malley brings that), but in the pop he brings with it.

Zobrist hit the bigs at 25, Motter at 26.  in 372 AB's in AAA, Zobrist had 34 XB's.  1 per 11 AB's.  In 836 AAA AB's, Motter has 88 XB's.  That's 1 per 9. 

He doesn't have to hit for a high average to be a real bonus type player if he can do that in the bigs.

Incidentally, he's had 10 XB's in 94 big league AB's.  1 per 9.  It won't quite continue......but he's going to hit a bunch of balls to the wall.

Like Zobrist, he may become nearly imipossible to keep out of the lineup, covering for everybody.


Will continue, will the Zobrist+ level of XBH?  Well, he's got to start getting singles so he can steal some bases.  That's why I'm comparing him more to McLemore for now though both Zobrist and McLemore are switch hitters.  McLemore blossomed at 28 in Baltimore, but it's possible Motter has more pop. 


McLemore was a slap hitter with a great eye...sprayed the ball around on the ground/line...lots of fliners.  Good player...but hardly the power that Motter measurably has.  I don't think McLemore ever hit 60 XBHs in any one minor or major league season. :)


didn't have the speed and therefore time at SS/ overall defensive ability.  I get that you probably meant more along the slash lines.  The more I look through the Maicer Izturis, Tony Phillips, Tom Foley groups the more I wonder if we're talking about a player in Motter who could become the prototype.  Who has actually had the speed, power and defensive ability?   I haven't found a 20 SB 50 XBH multi position player.  Zobrist hasn't put those together in any season.   I'm not saying he's a GGer or anything but many utility guys are just bad at multiple positions.  Motter looks good everywhere I've seen him and that includes every position but Catcher and CF.  Ok, I didn't see his 1/3 IP with TB... Found a video http://m.mlb.com/video/v881044183


Povse with 5.2 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 3 BB, and 6 K's.  In two starts he's now 12.2 innings, 5 hits, 4 BB, and 11 K's and 0 runs..

Moore, in his two starts, is 12 innings, 3 hits, 3 BB, 12 K's, and 0 runs.

Uh, that's 24.2 innings between them:  8 hits, 7 BB's, 23 K's and an ERA of 0,00.

I keep telling you guys!

Overton, Whalen, Heston?  No thanks.

Give me the Dynamic Double A Duo.

Edit:  Will admit that Heston threw 7 innings of 4-hit shutout ball in Tacoma last night.


A quick look at April-May for the M's over the last decade to me shows that there is something else going on.  It transcends managers, GMs, and players.  I don't know what it is, but you'll find a 3-13, 2-8, 5-16 stretch in just about every early season.  I know almost every team has tough stretches, but we seem to have ours early in seasons frequently.

When the regular season starting gun fires, this team, regardless of personnel, seems to have a very hard time getting started.  Is it culture?  Is it weather?  I don't know, but digging holes early seems to be a Mariner tradition.  If you can't isolate this specifically to Servais, and when you see 8 guys in your lineup hitting worse than pitchers over the first week it most likely is not the manager, I think you have to look at other things.

I honestly have absolutely. no. idea.

Except that this team seems to get my focus on the NFL draft every year.....

Taro yo's picture

I'm with you. It's bizarre. The Ms are a winning streak away from playing themselves back into it, but they are also a loosing streak away from being completely out of it... and it's not even late April. Its hard to believe..





Another reason I'd like to see Servais give him a little more time is he just looks like a gamer out there. Brings some swagger and confidence to the field, along with joy for the game. I love guys who are passionate and it shows on the field that they are having a good time. Gamel has some of that as well. It was something I liked about Nick Franklin also, hopefully Milwaukee gives him full time AB's.

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