Apparently leading a team back into the postseason for the first time in 21 years, ending the longest current postseason drought in North American professional sports, wasn’t quite enough to win Scott Servais baseball’s highest honor for managers.
Instead, he’ll have to settle with being a finalist for a second straight year despite the Mariners’ magical 2022 season.
During a special broadcast on MLB Network, Terry Francona of the Cleveland Guardians was named the American League Manager of the Year for the third time.
Francona, who led the Guardians — the youngest team in baseball — to the American League Central division title, amassed 112 total points with 17 first-place votes. Baltimore’s Brandon Hyde finished second with 79 points, including nine first-place votes while Servais finished third, garnering 43 points and one first-place vote.
A year ago, Servais finished second to Tampa’s Kevin Cash for the award.
But it wasn’t just that the Mariners ended their infamous post with Servais at the helm. It was how they did it.
After unexpectedly winning 90 games in 2021 and playing till the last day of the regular season with real hope of grabbing the last playoff spot, the Mariners came into the 2022 season with the goal and expectation of earning a spot in the expanded postseason, finally ending a drought that dated to the 2001 team that won a MLB-record 116 games.
That preseason optimism dissipated in the first few months of the season as the team stumbled and eventually hit rock bottom with miserable stretch of baseball, posting an 18-33 record April 27 to June 20. After losing four of five games to the Angels and being shutout in back-to-back losses on June 18-19 at T-Mobile Park, the Mariners were 29-39 and eight games out of a postseason spot.
Rumblings and growing demands about changes to Servais’ staff or his spot began to permeate in Seattle.
But the only changes that followed were in the team’s results.
The Mariners were able to rebound with a stunning 22-3 run, which included a 14-game winning streak going into the All-Star break. From June 20 to the end of the season, Seattle posted a 61-33 record. That .649 winning percentage was second best in the AL during that span.
The Mariners led all of baseball with 34 one-run victories and were 11-5 in extra-innings games, which was the best winning percentage in the AL. Their 40 comeback wins were third most in the AL while their 13 walkoff wins tied a club record.
“An outstanding season for Scott,” Jerry Dipoto, the Mariners president of baseball operations, said in a statement when Servais was named as a finalist. “His leadership provided a meaningful difference for our team, both on and off the field. As always, his focus on pregame preparation set a tone for our group, while his situational awareness and bullpen management were once again critical to our success. It’s tough to imagine a more deserving candidate.”
Manager of the year voting
- Terry Francona (112 points): 17 first-place votes, 9 second-place votes
- Brandon Hyde (79 points): 9 first-place votes, 9 second-place votes
- Scott Servais (43 points): 1 first-place vote, 8 second-place votes, 14 third-place votes
- Dusty Baker (31 points): 3 first-place votes, 3 second-place votes, 7 third-place votes
- Aaron Boone (4 points), 1 second-place vote, 1 third-place vote
- Kevin Cash (1 point): 1 third-place votes.
Ballots are submitted prior to postseason play and were cast by two writers representing each league city. They are tabulated on a system that awards five points for first place, three points for second place and one point for third place.