It was seeing his brother playing last October during the postseason that drove home the point for Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager.
“There’s a lot of room for (personal) improvement,” he said. “There are a lot of different aspects to it. But at this point, it really comes down to winning. You’ve got to do whatever you can to win.
“You hear guys talk about that, but it’s real. The last few years, ever since I’ve been up here, we’ve not been in postseason. We were really close one year (2014), but that’s something I’ve really gotten a taste for.
“Watching my brother in the postseason was pretty cool. I’d like to join him.”
Seager, 28, is about to enter his sixth big-league season, and his current list of personal achievements is already impressive.
He’s been an All-Star. He’s won a Gold Glove for defensive excellence. His financial future is secure after signing a seven-year contract extension a little over 14 months ago for a guaranteed $100 million.
But he’s only played on one winning club in Seattle and, perhaps more than many, found frustration last season when lofty postseason expectations turned into bitter disappointment.
So when his younger brother, Corey, reached the postseason last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers after having played just 27 big-league games, it couldn’t help but prompt introspection.
“It’s been fun to pick Corey’s brain,” Seager said. “Tell me what the playoffs are like and everything. He’s got me jealous.”
And, yes, Seager avidly followed the Mariners’ offseason moves under new general manager Jerry Dipoto.
“I got to speak with Mr. Dipoto right at the end of the season,” Seager recalled, “and he kind of said what he was planning on doing. Then he stuck with the plan. It’s been pretty exciting to see the transformation the team has taken.”
That transformation included a new manager in Scott Servais, who hooked up with Seager for an offseason breakfast.
“He was in Charlotte visiting his daughter,” Seager said. “His daughter works for the (NFL’s Carolina) Panthers. It was nice to get to sit down with him and talk to him.”
That meeting did not produce a definitive answer for Seager’s spot in the lineup but rather emphasized a consistent approach.
“If Kyle Seager’s hitting second versus hitting fifth or sixth,” Servais said, “I still want a good at-bat out of Kyle Seager, and I know he does this well.”
Translation: The new administration is placing an increased emphasis on boosting on-base percentage by controlling the strike zone. Seager knows the message is aimed at him as much as anyone else.
His .328 OBP ranked 41st last year among the 69 American League players who had sufficient plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. That’s closer to the bottom than the top.
“I’m going to have to get better at it, for sure,” Seager said. “It’s definitely been what they’re talking about. It makes sense. Everything they say, it makes sense. You look at the ballpark, you look at everything … the plan seems smart.
“Obviously, it’s easier said than done (to overhaul the roster). But (Dipoto has) done a lot. He’s been very active in that regard. It’s a big ballpark. It’s hard to rely on home runs.”
The Mariners’ 58-player camp roster includes 29 players acquired since the end of last season. That’s a 50-percent turnover.
“There are a lot of new people,” Seager said. “I’ve got to learn a lot of new personalities. That goes back to the business of it. We obviously weren’t doing what we needed to do. Changes needed to be made, and they certainly were made.
“Ultimately, we’re trying to win. Unfortunately, we haven’t done that yet. But I think you go into it, and you’re definitely optimistic. As soon as you sit down and you talk to (Servais) or Dipoto, it’s a very optimistic conversation.
“You love the direction that they’re taking.”
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners