Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais answered several questions about his team’s prospects with a serious look.
Then Servais was asked about his new outfielder, Jarrod Dyson, and a smile spread across his face.
“Electric personality,” Servais said during Catcus League media day on Tuesday. “Really adds to the clubhouse. … What he brings our club, the speed, some swag. He’s not afraid to speak what’s on his mind.”
Yup, that’s Dyson, the former 50th-round draft pick now wearing something other than Royal blue for the first time in his career. He went to the Mariners in a trade for pitcher Nate Karns, one of a flurry of offseason transactions involving Royals who had played important roles in the team’s ascent.
Relocation is part of the game’s progression, but for Royals fans who supported their team in record numbers over the last two years, it will seem odd not to regularly witness Dyson’s speed or the consistency of closer Wade Davis or another shutdown artist who had always been a Royal, reliever Greg Holland.
Davis went to the Cubs for outfielder Jorge Soler. Holland, who hasn’t pitched since 2015 and became a free agent after that season, signed last month with the Rockies.
Others integral to the Royals’ run of four consecutive seasons of .500 or better, including consecutive American League titles and the 2015 World Series championship, have moved on. But these players were there for most or all the rise, and now they look to take those winning habits into other clubhouses.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore said he expects nothing less.
“Any time a player has been part of the organization you want them to go on and do well,” Moore said. “You want them to take something positive from your team, your organization, your culture and can spread that seed and help other environments. We take pride in that.”
Davis went from one winning organization to another in joining the World Series champion Cubs, and his success with the Royals, his dominance during the 2015 regular season and playoffs, enhanced his resume.
“The guys we focused on, those guys had a pedigree,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Wade played in back-to-back World Series. He got the final out (in 2015).
“We certainly hope we’re in that situation again this year, and he’s not going be scared off by the situation. We were excited to get him for a lot of reasons and that was one of them.”
Twice last season Davis was on the disabled list because of right forearm strains, but over the last three seasons he’s posted a 1.18 ERA with 47 saves in 185 appearances.
Davis closed most of last season, a year after working as the setup man for Holland in the Kelvin Herrera-Davis-Holland (HDH) march to finish games and help the Royals earn their first postseason spot in nearly three decades.
Holland underwent Tommy John surgery, last appearing for the Royals on Sept. 18, 2015. Over his final three seasons he saved 125 games. Holland tied a major-league postseason record with seven saves in 2014. He signed a one-year, $7 million guaranteed contract with the Rockies, who haven’t reached the playoffs since 2009.
“A couple-time All-Star with a great resume as a closer,” said Rockies manager Bud Black, and one of several acquisitions “we feel really good about.”
Dyson, who stole 176 bases over seven seasons, is slated for more playing time in Seattle, and as he did with the Royals, should log time in right and center fields. Servais already sees a vocal presence.
“He wasn’t an everyday player but he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind,” Servais said. “I think he’ll be a great fit for us.”