Angels Pluck Servais From Division Rival
Hands-on executive now looking to beat former employer
LOS ANGELES—Few people know the Rangers' minor league system better than Scott Servais. After all, he spent the last six years building it.
But now, after jumping to the division-rival Angels, Servais' job is to try to one-up his former bosses, who have won the last two American League pennants. First, however, he has to get comfortable with his new team, which has overhauled its front office and part of its big league roster since last season.
"It's been a little challenging," he said. "Obviously there's a lot going on here. I'm trying to get my arms around the players best I can."
Servais already has a valuable ally in new general manager Jerry Dipoto, who was in charge of scouting and player development in Arizona before coming to Anaheim. Among the first tasks for both men will be rebuilding a minor league system that is heavy in top-level prospects but thin overall.
It was the opposite in Texas, where the Rangers built such depth they were able to make crucial midseason trades.
"This system right now is very similar to what it was like when I took over in Texas and Jerry started in Arizona," Servais said. "There were some high-level guys, but after that it did fall off. And obviously it was able to get much deeper. So I'm sure it's something that we will address here."
But there will be no quick fixes, says Servais, a former big league catcher.
"It all starts with the draft," he said. "Signing the amateur players and then moving them along and putting the right developmental process together."
Servais is known as a hands-on executive, one who often puts on a uniform during spring training, shagging balls with the players and working out with the catchers. That, he hopes, will help speed the introductions with his minor leaguers.
• Servais said top draft pick C.J. Cron has recovered from surgery to repair ligament damage in his right knee and has been working out. The Angels expect the first baseman to be 100 percent by spring training.
• Infielder Alexi Amarista, who never hit more than five homers in a full pro season, hit eight in his first 54 games in the Venezuelan League this winter. The switch-hitter, playing for Caribes, was batting .284/.376/.472.