The Mariners have themselves a new manager. Scott Servais will take over the reigns. Tim Bogar will also reportedly be his bench coach. The hires are mildly surprising, but about as mild as mild gets.
I wrote my major Dipoto post two and a half weeks ago and predicted that we would see an infusion of Angels front office personnel. Both Servais and Bogar were in the Angels front office with Dipoto. They were obvious candidates to follow Dipoto up to Seattle. However, among the two men, Bogar has managing experience and Servais does not. Moreover, Bogar's managing experience includes lots of winning (albeit in the minor leagues).
So, it would seem more logical to hire Bogar as manager and Servais in another position. The men hired make total sense, but the positions are a bit surprising. However, Dipoto is considered more "new school," which means the manager executes the general manager's vision to a large degree. This is a paradigm shift for the Mariners as a franchise. Servais does not have the same leadership role within the Mariners as Lloyd McClendon did, or if you prefer to harken back to the good old days, certainly different from Lou Piniella.
The early takes on Servais's hiring are focused on his lack of managerial experience and how that is a trend in baseball at the moment. I don't think that is the most interesting angle in this story. Really, Servais provides us another glimpse into Dipoto's vision.
Scott Servais carved out a respectable 11-year career in the big leagues, which should immediately buy him credibility in the clubhouse despite his lack of managerial experience. Moreover, Servais's post-career experience all came in front office roles, and more specifically in LA of A he was involved in player development. So, this hire strongly suggests to me that Dipoto is placing a premium on developing the Mariners core that has already reached the major leagues - so much so that he was willing to hire a man without managing experience.
This is where Tim Bogar comes in. The bench coach is the manager's right hand man. He is the guy the manager always checks in with about moves, tactics, and strategy. Bogar's minor league managing experience will be valuable in this role, plus Dipoto knows he can work with Bogar and trusts that Bogar's tactics will not deviate from the overall vision Dipoto has for the Mariners.
The Mariners finished hiring the major leaders within their front office over the week but I have not had time to write about those hires yet. That post will come out tomorrow. The restructuring already suggested that Jerry Dipoto more or less liked everything the Mariners were doing, except in player development - but he really, really disapproved of what the Mariners were doing in player development from the looks of it. More on this later. All I am saying right now is that Dipoto is clearly focused on fixing the M's player development track, and hiring Servais as the manager fits within that focus.