home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


December 10, 2019

Scott Servais

San Diego, California

Q. Scott, Jerry said he's not going to make a trade or do very much while he's here. Do you believe him?
SCOTT SERVAIS: I always believe Jerry. You never know. Obviously it's been a quiet winter meeting for us. We knew that coming in there wasn't going to be a lot of action. We like the young group we have. We're going to let that young group mature and go forward together.

Don't anticipate a lot going on here.

Q. You talk about the young guys. Evan White, made a huge commitment. How do you handle that first base job in Spring Training and what are you looking for from Evan?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Obviously we like Evan a lot, and signing him long term going forward maybe takes a little pressure off of him. Coming into Spring Training I certainly hope he goes out and plays well and wins the job and runs with it. He'll let is know when he is ready. I expect he will, and am looking forward to seeing him out there every day.

He's a great person. I think a great young guy that wants to be a big part of what we're doing going forward. Certainly believes in how we are building this, and has been a big part of what we've done at the Minor League levels. So looking forward to seeing how Spring Training plays out.

Q. You had to go through tough times last year to get you to the point where now you are bringing in pieces that will be a part of the future. For you, where is the hope, optimism, excitement when you look at this?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Yeah, I'm really, really excited about what we're doing going forward. We can look back to where we were a year ago. The organization made a decision that we needed to step back. We traded away a lot of great players, and in return we got a ton of really good young players. Now the key is to be disciplined, let those guys play out and mature.

But our Minor League people have done a great job keeping the group together. It's really coming in waves, you know, with what we did. Our Double A team was our core team last year with Lewis and White and Dunn and Sheffield and Fraley, these type of guys coming together, and now we have another wave coming out of last year's draft. We're focused on pitching. We picked six in this upcoming draft, so there will be another wave of players coming.

The key for us is to be patient with these young guys. You gotta let them play and run together. There are going to be bumps in the road, but I'm super excited where we are headed. Having spent two days last week with 50 of our players along with veterans in the same room talking about where we're going in the future, pretty exciting time.

Q. Did you want to see -- you usually go and see your guys during the off-season. Have you gone and seen anybody, specifically Mitch?
SCOTT SERVAIS: I was with Mitch last week. We had the players in town at a leadership conference. He's 100% healthy, working out. Started picking up his baseball activity right about now. We will get out and see him in January. Early January I will make the loop around. I want to get down in south Florida and California to see our guys in both those spots.

But he's healthy. Can't wait to get going.

Q. No restrictions?
SCOTT SERVAIS: No, no restrictions.

Q. How important is that? You never had him going last year.
SCOTT SERVAIS: He's a key piece to what we're doing. I think as much excitement as young players bring, it needs to be a balance. We've got some veteran players. Love how Seager stepped up last year, not just on the field, but in the clubhouse.

You need those guys. And what we saw out of Marco Gonzales, having a solid year last year, what he brings, not just on the field in the clubhouse. Mitch does the same thing: performs well when he's healthy. You need those guys to lead and stay out ahead and show these young guys how it's done.

Q. Yusei had an interesting first year, and we saw this was going to be a period of acclimation, and there was no way to projecting what the results were going to look like. We saw a shut out and times when he was hit hard. What was your overall take of where he was and where he's going?
SCOTT SERVAIS: We talked about it last year when we signed Yusei that we were going to be calculated in his workload, what we were going to put on him. The goal was to get him through the season healthy. Had to get through a Major League season. The difference in the five-day rotation when he was used to seven-day, he experienced a ton last year.

Think about where we started in his home country opening night. Handled that great. Pitched at Yankee Stadium, a lot of really solid outings throughout the year, and he had times he struggled.

But with everything he went through, the culture change, the change in the leagues, the power that he's seen, the change in the baseball, and then some things that happened off the field. He's a dad for the first time. There was a lot going on.

He was just in Seattle last week. Smile on his face. You can tell he's much more comfortable. He knows what to expect. It's huge for players.

Q. How do you foresee the three-batter rule and how you approach that?
SCOTT SERVAIS: It will be interesting to see how different teams deal with it. Where we're at, I think we have some left-handed pitchers that can work through some righties. It will probably change how you put your bullpen together. You ask more of guys than you would in the past. Some managers may not like it. I like the fact that it plays into strategy.

You have to be calculated when you get your guy. Do you leave your starter out for one more hitter? Go get him now? It will create discussion early on, and like everything else in baseball, you change with it, roll with it.

I don't know if it will affect the game that much.

Q. 26 man.
SCOTT SERVAIS: I think what that will allow you to do, and from what I understand, 13 pitchers, 13 position players, so it really allows you -- now you got the extra position player, because most teams are already carrying 13 pitchers. So now you got the extra position player that maybe allow you to platoon, which is not a bad thing.

Obviously September will be played much differently, which I think is a good thing. Everybody is playing with the same lineup, same number of players, which makes it more fair.

Q. I'm doing a profile on Nelson Cruz.

Q. I was hoping you could tell me what it was like to have him in your roster and have that type of veteran hitter in your lineup.
SCOTT SERVAIS: One of the all-time best, and with Nelson, before he became Nelson Cruz, with the Rangers. I still stay in touch with him after he won the Edgar D. Martinez DH Award. I think of all the players I've been around, where he is in his career and his ability to extend his career, based on -- he is so disciplined. What he eats, sleeps, the amount of work he gets in. Always in the weight room. He's getting the most out of his ability for as long as he can. Really unique guy in that sense.

I know what he meant to the Twins this year. You could see it in their dugout. Again, one of those guys I root for except when we play against him.

Q. With the Twins he has that wise old sage personae in the clubhouse where younger guys go to him for guidance and they can see by example how he carries himself each day. How much did he have an influence on the other guys on the Mariners?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Same thing. We saw it from the get-go. The one thing with Nelson, especially a home run hitter, power hitter, they get hot and will carry you a week, two weeks at a time. Nelson is the same guy every day, contributing on the field or not. That really helps out in your clubhouse. We saw the same thing. Happy it's working out well for him.

Q. You're now a couple years into you managerial career. What is the best advise you received before you became a manager and what it is best advice you can give to a rookie today?
SCOTT SERVAIS: I think the best advice I received and would give is you've got to be yourself. You've got to be as honest as you possibly can with players, because I think when you try to BS players they see through it. I think you've got to be yourself and brutally honest at times, which isn't easy.

Q. Do you think it's easier to be yourself now than it was the first year?
SCOTT SERVAIS: No question, you learn. You come up with a system and a style and a routine, just like players, coaches, managers come up with it, too. There is no doubt I'm in a different spot understanding what to expect from the game, the clubhouse, the fan base, Seattle, everything.

Q. How does Shed Long fit in?
SCOTT SERVAIS: He hits, no question. Shed had a nice run for us last year swinging the bat really, really well. We're going to give him a ton of opportunity to play at second base. I think that's his position at the end of the day.

Where we are as a ball club you have to give guys a chance and stick with them. We saw with JP Crawford last year he played a ton and learned through it. Now he has a better idea how to train in the off-season, because he wore down a little bit last year. We're going to give Shed a great opportunity this year at second base, and he is certainly not intimidated, by the league or the situation. He showed very well.

Q. How do you balance that?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Yeah, it will be something we talk about going forward, what's the best way to utilize all the pieces on the roster. Two guys at different points in their career, and D was that young guy coming up at one point. So, again, conversations that you have to have with players and be honest with them and let them know what to expect going in.

Q. How much of a role are you playing in player development as far as structuring the program, use of technology?
SCOTT SERVAIS: (Shaking head.)

Q. Nothing at all?
SCOTT SERVAIS: No. I'm very in tune with what we're doing, but our player development people, headed by Andy McKay and our pitching coaches, our coordinators, have done a phenomenal job. That's my background, is in player development, but the game has changed so much over the last three or four years especially with the tech and the data that used. The tech is the main thing with the -- and the equipment out there to give feedback to players has become a huge tool in coaching.

I've learned a lot about it, but our programs, what we have going on down there, I trust our people. They do a great job. That's why we're in the spot they're in, because our young players all had good years last year.

Q. Why do you think Vogey fell off the cliff so much in the second half?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Couple different reasons. I think to stay at the level he was at was going to be hard. He had a great first half. I think the league adjusted. They went after him a little differently in how they attacked him.

Again, information. Your weaknesses get exposed, and I think what you struggle with, you have to make an adjustment. It took Vogey a while to make that adjustment. So big learning year for him as well. Actually in good shape. Saw him last week as well coming into camp.

I think we found out where we were at roster-wise. He was forced to play a lot of first base. I thought he got much better at first base. Probably did better than any of us anticipated he could do, but he's a DH. I think that's what he is. He's a bat. I think he learned a lot from it. He will be better for it.

But the league made adjustments to him, no question.

Q. Did the year wear him down?
SCOTT SERVAIS: I don't know about wear. It's not just the physical, it's the mental. I don't think people give that enough credit. When you're out there and grinding, it's easier when things are going good. When you struggle you put more pressure on yourself, and hopefully he learned a ton from it.

Q. Anything he's done in this off-season, like struggling that second half, adjusting?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Good question, Ryan. I saw him last week. We had a lot of guys in town. Sitting down and talking with Tim Laker on things they had talked about at the end of the year. Vogey started swinging the bat, which is typical. Right around Thanksgiving time is when guys start getting after their withouts. He's being looking to make a few changes, small mechanical changes. Vogey can hit. He's super strong. He knows the strike zone. He needs to be a little bit consistent.

Q. (No microphone.)
SCOTT SERVAIS: I've known CJ -- I was with The Rangers when we drafted him. Late round high school pick in South Carolina, so I've known him for a long time. Got a chance to talk to him before and after we signed him. Decided to have him in the mix. Got set a track record, been pretty good; he just needs to get back to throwing strikes. That's always been his taboo. He's got to get it over the plate, control the strike zone.

Q. You have a lot of young guys that can compete in the bullpen.
SCOTT SERVAIS: A lot of competition there. Our bullpen struggled last year early in the season. I thought, once Austin Adams came in the mix and we saw some good things out of Brennan for a while, but I thought the group we had toward the end of the year. I like Guilbeau showed. I thought Miguel threw the ball really well at the end. There are guys that might not be on our roster right now that are coming up through the Minor Leagues. You'll be impressed when you see these guys in Spring Training as well. They may not break with us, but they are going to pitch for us at some point this year.

Q. Any update on Austin Adams?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Progressing with the knee. Mid to late season. Pretty serious injury. He'll get back. He's working his tail off.

Q. How old were you when your pitching coach was born?
SCOTT SERVAIS: I can't believe you threw that question out there. He's like 32 or something, isn't he? Yeah, we do have a couple of young additions to our coaching staff, which really excites me, giving those guys an opportunity. I think Pete is 31. Carson Vitally joins us, another young guy coming out of our Minor League system.

They have such a great connection with our young players, and it's really going to help these guys as far as getting them up to speed. My job is to coach up the coaches, so spending a lot of time with these guys on the phone, talking with them throughout the off-season, hopefully giving them guidance.

I'm learning from these guys, because they have experiences with these young players that I want to know about.

Q. I would assume Justice and Justin Dunn, two of your most important prospects, Pete has had hands on. How big is that?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Anytime you gain trust with a player, it's the first hurdle you have to get over before they will buy into what you sell. Pete has that with them, along with Logan Gilbert. Excited Brian DeLunas goes back into our bullpen. He spent a lot of time with them last year, too, as he was traveling around in the Minor Leagues. I think it will help those guys and speed up their growth and progress.

We will go as fast as our pitching takes us. If you're looking at our rebuild, that's one way I would look at it.

Q. That rotation has some young guys knocking on the door. Do you have the rotation depth to get you going?
SCOTT SERVAIS: I hope so. I hope we don't use 42 pitchers again. That was crazy last year. We won't. I think we will get only -- stabilize things a little bit. We will have to wait and see whether these guys are ready, Logan Gilbert is ready, if Dunn is ready. They will let us know.

And these guys have the weapons to compete, but can handle what's around them, too, and grow that confidence.

Q. What do you need to see from Dunn in camp to say, hey, these guys are ready?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Justin, we saw some great things the last abbreviated starts. Again, it was abbreviated, just to give them small little exposure was really -- we controlled that quite a bit, for a reason. We didn't want the innings to run up there. He has three pitches. The command of the fastball will be huge for him. Got a really good slider. Got to use his change-up.

He's coming into Spring Training and talking to him last week, and he's coming in to win the job. He wants to break with the club. He thinks he's ready to. Again, he will let us know.

Q. Do you think one of the unintended benefits with Graveman and Edwards is not only is it fiscally responsible, but that also they come in with a chip. I need to rebuild my credentials, get back on track here, and it works in guys' favors.
SCOTT SERVAIS: It really is. There are a lot of guys out there. If you look at the free agents, again, the higher dollar, high profile guys are getting all the pub right now.

But there is a pretty good group of players out there that -- the key for us is making sure we are bringing the right players in and do they fit into what we're doing clubhouse-wise and the culture. Talking to Graveman, knowing CJ, they're going to be pluses for us. I think that's important where we are in our development, bringing in the right people, making sure our young players have the right people around them and exposed to the right things.

How to go about your work, how to handle difficult times, really good for them to see.

Q. How curious are you to see what happens with the Astros since they are in your division, and if there is a penalty and how that affects everything going forward?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Certainly the Astros have a really good roster. We play them a lot. There is an investigation going on. It does no good for me to comment on that. We have to wait and see how it plays out. Our focus is on 2020 and the young players moving forward.

Q. The catchers, your first love there?
SCOTT SERVAIS: I love all our guys.

Q. Real high on Nola last year. Chance to get him involved now?
SCOTT SERVAIS: I do. With us trading Omar it gives opportunity to Murph. Nola, we liked what we saw a lot. Played great at first base for a guy who hadn't done it much. And also like when you are making decisions like with Omar. We like Cal Raleigh a lot. He needs more time in the Minor Leagues. There is no question about that.

But it lines us up finding out more about Murph, that Nola can do back there, and creates opportunity for Cal Raleigh to come when he's ready.

Q. I guess you could use Nola. He could spell Murph, play some first, be DH. In many ways becomes an important pieces to the roster.
SCOTT SERVAIS: Really is. We had him at second a couple of games. You won't see him in the outfield anymore. That didn't work out so good one day. But anywhere on the infield. Always prepared. Great guy to have.

Q. He came up in the middle infield.
SCOTT SERVAIS: He played shortstop at LSU, second base.

Q. With the proposed addition of the 26-roster spot. How does that assess how you approach the off-season?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Most teams are carrying 13 pitchers. You see the bigger change on how you handle your position player group. Probably affords you the opportunity to platoon one more spot on the field, which is a good thing. Put guys in better positions to have success and hopefully reduce the workload for some other guys.

I think it's a good thing. A 26-man needed to happen. And like I mentioned earlier, playing with a consistent roster in September is important.

Q. How much attention do you pay to Jared Keller, Rodriguez, guys who are making noise in the minors?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Certainly know who they are. This is certainly about our young core. Those two guys are part of it. They're probably the next wave of players coming.

Certainly know them. You will see a lot of them in our Major League camp this year. They got exposure last year. They will be in camp probably from the beginning of it. We'll see.

But getting those guys as comfortable as quick as we can. They're talented young players, and they're confident and now they need experience.

Q. Having guys like that in your organization, does it add experience top to bottom?
SCOTT SERVAIS: Yeah. We've got a lot of them. I'm excited to see how this group comes together at the Big League level. When you trade away good players, which is what we did a year ago, you need to get quality guys back. We know all the prospects, so they all turn out they way you want them to be? They don't.

But the positive thing, like I said a couple times, our player development people do an unbelievable job. All the players we acquired and brought in, they're all performing and getting better. Nobody had a huge step back. You gotta keep 'em healthy. But this group is exciting.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297