Breaking News
More () »

Is Scott Servais to blame for Seattle's disappointing start? | Locked on Mariners

The Mariners are hovering around .500 and are currently in fourth place in the American League West Division standings.

SEATTLE — The 2022 Seattle Mariners ended the longest playoff drought in baseball when they finally made it to the postseason - the first time since their record-breaking 2001 squad made the American League Championship. That performance gave Mariners’ fans hope that the team was back to the form it had in the 90s and early 2000s when the playoffs were nearly automatic.

But the 2023 season hasn’t started exactly how the Mariners or their fans would have liked or had envisioned. Seattle is currently 23-24 and in fourth place in the American League West division standings behind the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Angels. So when a team is not meeting their expectations, who is to blame?

BE SURE to listen and subscribe to Locked On Mariners wherever you get your podcasts!

Locked On has a DAILY podcast covering EVERY MLB team, find yours today!

On the latest episode of the Locked On Mariners podcast, hosts Ty Dane Gonzalez and Colby Patnode wonder if manager Scott Servais is to blame for the Mariners, so far, disappointing start.

The glaring stat when you look at the Mariners’ numbers is their record against teams who are over .500. They’re only 7-14. They’re under .500 against their division rivals Angels and Rangers, while they’re undefeated against the 10-39 Oakland A’s and 2-1 against the Astros. Another problem is their under .500 at home at 11-12.

The good thing for the Mariners is that it’s still early, and they have plenty of time to turn things around. But what if they can’t? Should Servais be the fall guy?

Gonzalez and Patnode were asked by a viewer, “What grade would you give Scott Servais this year so far?” Patnode answered on a scale of 20-80, which is the scale scouts use to grade players and gave Servais a 45 or 50. According to Fangraphs, 50 is average, and 45 is below average. Patnode explained further, saying, “I can’t see going any lower, and I certainly can’t see going any higher. The team is hovering around .500. That’s not where you want it. That’s not what we wanted this team to be.” He added, “How much of that is on Scott? I don’t think a whole heck of a lot.”

So while Patnode wasn't blaming Servais for the slow start, he discussed some problems he has Servais. One is his penchant for calling for the bunt, which, as Patnode joked, “always works out.” And that Servais tends to squeeze out extra runs from the starters when the bullpen is ready to go. Patnode noted that it has come back to haunt the Mariners in a few games so far this season. But Patnode was sure to point out that Servais isn’t managing a full roster and that the loss of Robbie Ray from the rotation was a big one.

An unfortunate aspect of Major League Baseball is that when a team isn’t paying to its full potential, there is usually a scapegoat, and that person is almost always the manager. You can’t fire players. You may be able to move them around or option them, but for the most part, a team’s failure falls on the manager’s shoulders.

So, no, Scott Servais isn’t entirely to blame for the Mariners' somewhat slow start but he has contributed to it. 

Seattle is currently playing the last-place A’s, and if Monday night’s 10-2 win was any indication, they shouldn’t have any issues in this series and will be over .500 soon enough. But the key for the Mariners is also to beat teams who are better than the A’s, and they will get that chance later this week and into next week when they welcome the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees to T-Mobile Park.

BE SURE to listen and subscribe to Locked On Mariners wherever you get your podcasts!

Before You Leave, Check This Out