Picking the Mariners Player of the Year could not have been an easy task for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Seattle Chapter.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said Friday that he had four players in mind who could have won that award: J.P. Crawford, Ty France, Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager.

“Any of them could have been your MVP, depending on how you want to look at it,” Servais.

And the winner was: first baseman Ty France, who leads the team in OPS (.814) and batting average (.293), had 18 homers and 73 RBI entering Friday night’s game.

“Ty certainly is very deserving, and the one thing I’ve talked about often — that gets under the radar — is the defensive job he has done for us,” Servais said. “He has really picked us up at first base when Evan White went down. … The amount of work he put in, the subtle adjustments he put in to get more comfortable over there has really made a difference in our infield defense.

“I have no problem with Ty France getting that award. I think it’s well deserved.”

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Chris Flexen was named the BBWAA’s Pitcher of the Year and Crawford was named the Unsung Hero.

France said he learned that he had won the award when he got to T-Mobile Park and saw a note at his locker.

“I was definitely surprised, and I didn’t even know they were doing that tonight,” France said of the award. “I am very fortunate and humbled to be able to help my team in the way that I have and win that award.”

France was traded to the Mariners from the Padres in August last season, part of a six-player trade. After playing part-time for San Diego in 2019 and 2020, the Mariners gave him a chance to play every day.

“They told me I was going to be given every opportunity, and I have to give them a lot of credit because they gave me that, and I kind of ran with it,” France said. “Here we are, and it’s been such a fun year.”

France has delivered everything the Mariners could have hoped for, as has Flexen, who pitched last year in the Korean Baseball Organization.

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“We didn’t know we could get this kind of season out of him as quick as he did,” Servais said of Flexen, who is 14-6 with a 3.67 ERA. “He got on a great roll early in the year, the confidence really started to build in the development in his pitches and the confidence in them. … Along the way, he has learned to attack lineups and weaknesses. So he has kind of taken the next step.”

Crawford, who won a Gold Glove at shortstop last season, is having another fine defensive year and was hitting .273 with nine homers, 52 RBI and 88 runs entering Friday’s game. He has also emerged as a team leader.

“I can’t say enough about him, not only what he does on the field, but also in the clubhouse,” France said.

Note

  • Servais said he was following the two games Thursday that impacted the Mariners’ chances — Red Sox vs. the Orioles and the Yankees vs. the Blue Jays — watching one on TV and the other on an iPad.

“And after the Rex Sox-Orioles game (a Boston loss that helped Seattle), I was able to get caught up on ‘Ted Lasso,’ so it was a good day,” Servais said.