Commentary

The myth of the steady rise

Rebuilding teams like the Mariners shouldn't assume they can't compete

Updated: January 27, 2012, 1:02 PM ET
By Dave Cameron | FanGraphs
Felix HernandezJeff Zelevansky/Icon SMIHistory has shown that Felix Hernandez and the Mariners shouldn't count themselves out.

Having lost 95 or more games in three of the last four seasons, the Seattle Mariners have moved into full-scale rebuilding mode. Their big offensive upgrade of the winter was 22-year-old Jesus Montero, and the team is currently penciling in players with less than a full year of experience at second base (Dustin Ackley), third base (Kyle Seager) and left field (Mike Carp), plus wherever Montero ends up playing. General manager Jack Zduriencik is preaching patience, letting the fans know that they should expect to take some lumps this year, but that the fruit of going young will pay off with a steady rise up the standings as the kids mature.

Zduriencik can point to the Texas Rangers, who slowly stockpiled talent for years and saw their win total rise every season from 2007 through 2011. However, a more thorough look at recent history suggests that teams don't usually follow this model of taking a slow, methodical rise from good to bad.


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