Remembering to Trust the Process

By Editorial Staff

Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged when your team does lousy for an extended period.  That’s ultimately what sports are about, right? You want a result that ends with a parade, rings and nights of celebratory tears and beers.

The process is important, though. If you simulated the 2008 Mariners season a hundred times, I have little faith that they’d end up a division or wild card winner in many of those sims. The process was really bad and thus the expected results became reality.

So, when I’m sitting around all depressed about how bad the Mariners results continue to be, I often find myself looking back at the J.J. Putz trade and the subsequent moves made with players acquired in it.

Let us visualize:

Now that every player involved in each trade has contributed in the major leagues, we can better reflect on the transactions and how the process employed by Jack Zduriencik has paid off for the club.

Obviously, the original trade was a huge win. Franklin Gutierrez, Jason Vargas and Mike Carp have all filled holes on this club. While the jury is still out on how much value Carp will bring, it’s hard not to be happy that he was part of the deal. Gutierrez’s health and offensive ability remain concerns, but his defensive value alone has been a big boost for the club’s pitching. Vargas has been one of those beneficiaries. He might not have as much value in a place like Texas or Chicago, but Safeco Field and his supporting defense made him the steal of the deal.

Of the ensuing deals, arguments could be made that not all used sound process even if the results didn’t hurt.

Let’s look at chart above, though, and see what we’re left with today. You see that the organization started with four players. They turned those four into seven. After subsequent moves they now have five remaining, and all are on the big league roster (sort of – Ryan just went on the DL).

A 2011 WAR graph for all players involved that have reached the big leagues at some point:

Data from FanGraphs

I’ve spent a lot more words than I needed to, really. You all remember the trades. You all remember what we gave up and what we have. Sometimes, though, I just think it’s good to reflect on what’s being done to improve this team.

So, when you’re feeling bummed about how things unfolded this season, remember the craptastic inheritance Bill Bavasi left Jack Zduriencik. Thanks to a sound process, even if the results haven’t been desirable, this is a club in much better shape than it was just a few years ago.