The Seattle Mariners announced a multiyear contract extension for manager Scott Servais on Friday as the club opened the second half of the season in position to potentially end the longest current playoff drought in the four major pro sports.
Servais agreed to the extension with the Mariners sitting at 58-39 and holding the second wild-card spot in the American League.
The extension was expected after general manager Jerry Dipoto signed a new contract earlier this month. Dipoto said getting Servais locked up was a priority.
Servais is in his third season as Seattle’s manager. He’s 222-199 since arriving in Seattle, the first managerial job of his career. Seattle went 87-75 in Servais’ first season, before dipping to 78-84 last year as Seattle was mired in injury issues.
Servais’ original three-year contract ran through this season.
“Scott has created a culture here in Seattle that allows players to be successful,” Dipoto said in a statement. “They are encouraged to be themselves, which has resulted in a loose environment, while still maintaining the focus on team above self.”
The club has rarely had stability at the managerial position. Barring an unexpected change, Servais will be just the third manager in the team’s history to begin a fourth season in charge of the ball club. Darrell Johnson, the team’s first-ever manager, was let go midway through his fourth season in 1980. Lou Piniella was Seattle’s manager from 1993-2002.
No other manager has been able to hang around Seattle longer than three seasons.
Servais is a leading contender for AL manager of the year this season because of what Seattle has accomplished. The Mariners have overcome a number of key injuries and the suspension of Robinson Cano for 80 games to get into position for a playoff berth. They were in much better shape two weeks ago before dropping seven of nine games prior to the All-Star break and watching their lead for the second wild card shrink to just three games over Oakland.
Servais, 51, previously worked in the front offices of the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers before coming to Seattle with Dipoto before the 2016 season. He spent 11 years as a player with four teams.