Scott Servais: Manager
Servais has served in many aspects after his career as a big-league, part-time catcher ended after the 2001 season. Among those include player development director and pro scout via the special assistant to the GM role. Whether or not he’ll be a good field skipper remains to be seen, but we know he sees eye-to-eye, for the most part, with GM Jerry Dipoto in terms of what kind of skills play in today’s Major League Baseball.
Servais is very detail-oriented, believes in advanced metrics and doesn’t appear to be stuck on any one way to do anything. Of course, this is something he’ll have to prove over the course of the season; it’s easy to believe in something and stick to it, but it’s a little more difficult to go away from your beliefs, even when they aren’t working.
The first-time manager has told the media he doesn’t expect to bunt a lot, but you can bet he will play small ball, including bunts, when the time calls for it. One advantage he has versus the club the past few seasons is there are three or four solid bunters projected to play a lot, and the lineup will do more when it makes outs than any lineup the Mariners have deployed in years.
How Servais handles the bullpen may be the key to his success in Seattle, particularly since the relief corps is an area with many question marks heading into the season.
Tim Bogar: Bench Coach
Bogar played infield in the big leagues until the 2001 season and took his first minor league managerial gig in 2004 with short-season Greeneville (HOU). His club won the title and he was manager of the year that season, then moved up a level, won the title again, and one more time was named the manager of the year in the South Atlantic League.
Amazingly, he was the manager of the year for a third straight year in 2006 as the slipper of the Double-A Akron Aeros. That season he served as a coach in the Futures Games, an honor he would receive again the following season.
Bogar then took a big-league coaching job, not returning to manage in the minors until 2013. In five seasons as a minor league manager, Bogar posted a 362-266 record (.576), winning two league titles, making the postseason four times and coming within one game of a third championship.
Bogar coached under Joe Maddon in 2008, Terry Francona 2009-2011, Bobby Valentine in 2012 and Ron Washington in 2014. Bogar was a special assistant to Dipoto in 2015 with the Los Angeles Angels. It’s worth noting that Bogar served as first and third base coach as well as bench coach in his big-league coaching career, and was the Rangers’ interim skipper for 22 games in 2014. He’s interviewed for numerous managerial jobs over the years.
Servais will lean on Bogar for a lot of strategic scenarios, though the former catcher certainly has an idea all by himself. You could probably describe Bogar as the Mariners’ co-manager. Or you can call him the Jim Halpert of the club, whichever you prefer.
Manny Acta: Third Base Coach
Acta has big-league coaching experience that dates back to Class-A Auburn in 1991 when he took the rare ‘player-coach’ gig. His big-league coaching experience includes time under Frank Robinson with the Montreal Expos 2002-05 and under Willie Randolph with the New York Mets for the two years following.
Acta was the manager of the Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians for two and a half years each.
The former infielder is considered a terrific coach of baserunning and fielding mechanics.
Casey Candaele: First Base Coach
Candaele played parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues despite not being drafted off a National Championship team in college. This is Candaele’s first big-league coaching job, but he’s served as a minor league coordinator for years and has experience running instructs. His strengths are considered to include his work with baserunners and outfielders, which will be his role with the Mariners.
Funny personal note on Candaele: His mother was a star in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, about which Hollywood made the flick ‘A League of Their Own.’ Helen Callaghan batted .257 with 354 stolen bases in 388 games.
Candaele’s a baseball IQ guy, which is to say it’s in his blood, he’s always learning and has a good track record teaching, specifically young players.
Mel Stottlemyre, Jr.: Pitching Coach
Stottlemyre is the son of legendary New York Yankees pitching coach Mel Sr., and brings more than a decade of coaching experience across several levels, including college (UNLV), short-season, Class-A and Double-A. He succeeded Bryan Price as pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009, and also has served as minor league pitching coordinator and bullpen coach.
Stottlemyre, undoubtedly, will bring an old-school approach to the Mariners, much like that of Rick Waits. That isn’t to say the Mariners won’t be savvy with their young arms, as Stottlemyre’s work in the minors should provide him plenty of context.
Mike Hampton: Bullpen Coach
Hampton will play an integral role in the club’s relievers and their preparation. Hampton is a smart as they come and if he coaches the way he managed himself as a pitcher, he’ll see each and every frame of a pitcher’s mechanics, be a terrific resource for pitch development.
Hampton never has coached in the big leagues but was the pitching coach for the rookie league Angels in 2014 after serving a year with the Double-A Arkansas Travelers in the same role.
I wouldn’t put it past Hampton as a future pitching coach; he’s as driven as a 1980s Honda Accord and as bright as a desert sun at noon.
Edgar Martinez: Hitting Coach
Most want to hand the credit for the Mariners’ offensive turnaround to Martinez since he took over late in June and that’s relatively near the time when the club began to hit. But Robinson Cano is the reason No. 1 for said turnaround, and Mark Trumbo finally getting comfortable after the May trade to Seattle is reason No. 2. Kyle Seager was relatively awful for nearly two months, too, and crediting Martinez for three veterans getting back to where they’ve always been in terms of production is just plain stupid and shortsighted.
That said, Martinez clearly is a hitting bank and he’s given the entire organization an ATM card and their own personal PIN. As a player, the future Hall of Famer was all about using the whole field, pitch recognition, staying back and swinging at strikes. If he’s half as good at cultivating that into the work of some of the younger players on the roster while offering ideas to veterans when the opportunities arise, he’ll prove to be as worthy as the credit he’s already been given.
I still believe Martinez could be the main difference between Mike Zunino becoming a viable offensive threat and the kid’s career being ruined. Remember, The Edgar didn’t break into the big leagues permanently until he was two years older than Zunino is now.