November 7th, 2011
At first glance, he isn’t exactly the warm and fuzzy type. To be honest, in my limited time with him, I can’t remember seeing him smile. He looks, acts, and talks like someone who has been in baseball his entire life. And it wasn’t until I had the chance to sit down and interview him in the RoughRiders’ dugout at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Ok. that I realized how truly valuable Senior Director of Player Development Scott Servias was to the Texas Rangers.
Unfortunately, he’s now a valuable addition to the division rival Anaheim Angels.
Right before the weekend, it was announced that new Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto had luered Servais away from Texas by offering him a multi-year contract as the Halos’ assistant general manager overseeing scouting and player development. With Texas, Servais was responsible for the on-field minor league development in addition to instructing the Rangers’ Major League catchers. He also made recommendations for potential trades and free-agent signings.
There are a lot of moving parts involved with the operations and player development in both major and minor league baseball and I’m far from fully understanding it all. Over the course of a season I see and meet coaches, scouts, rovers, coordinators, special assistants, and plenty more. All of them work for the Rangers, and all are trying to help the players here in Frisco become players in Arlington.
What I do know is that Servais had the respect of every RoughRider I talked to. A one-time player himself, the former catcher was taken in the third round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft by Houston and began his career with the Astros, making his Major League debut on July 12, 1991. His playing days ended in 2002 after batting .245 with 63 home runs and 319 RBIs in 820 Major League games.
I remember talking with former RoughRiders’ second baseman Matt Lawson about Servais at one point last year. He was incredibly complimentary of Servias and said that he felt like he really took the time to get to know him. In my interview with Servais in Tulsa, I asked Scott about how important it was for him get to know the players he was developing:
“It’s everything. I played for 15 years and I remember how important it was when the brass came into town. Letting [the players] know that they’re not just a number or a piece of meat, so to speak. I’m a person, I have a family, I have a background. I hope to build equity with the players so when I have to go to a player and hold them accountable or ask them to make an adjustment, we’ve built that equity, and they’ll buy in and take our suggestions.”
This told me a lot about Scott, and I think he really does care about the players. That might sound a little too “Hallmark” for professional baseball, but in my ten minutes with him, I truly felt as though he meant it.
For the Angels, this was a big time acquisition. For the Rangers, it leaves a big time void. Texas general manager Jon Daniels told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram that “[Scott] helped put together an outstanding staff, so we’re confident others will step up and we won’t miss a beat . . . I’m looking forward to competing against him.” Daniels also said that Scott will be missed and that his new opportunity is an exciting one.
No matter what happens, we’ll see the fruit of Servais’ labor 12 times a year when the RoughRiders take on the Arkansas Travelers.