There is no question that American League West division will be very competitive in 2013. The Seattle Mariners were at the bottom of the barrel in 2012 with a 75-87 record. They had a good off-season and have some promising prospects, but will they be able to contend in a division that is arguably the best in baseball in 2013?
Other than the Los Angeles Angels acquisition of slugger Josh Hamilton, most of the division had quiet off-seasons.
However, the Mariners were aggressive in pursuing power bats this winter and they were able to land both Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse via trade, as well as picking up veteran slugger Raul Ibanez through free agency. So I would have to say they had the second best off-season in the division.
These acquisitions have the Mariners lineup looking better than it has in a while, with Kyle Seager coming off a breakout season and Michael Saunders looking to improve off of an impressive 2012 campaign.
The rotation is solid, with Felix Hernandez and Joe Saunders at the top and Tom Wilhelmsen anchoring the bullpen.
Manager Eric Wedge has a very talented roster to work with this year, and I think a run at the playoffs is a possibility. However the Mariners will have to improve on their record in the division after going 24-33 against their rivals last year. One would think that that record would improve with the addition of the Houston Astros to the division to serve as a punching bag.
At this point the Angels are the favorite to win the division and you cannot count out the reigning division champion Oakland Athletics. However, I think the Texas Rangers lost a great deal of talent in the off-season and the Astros will be at the bottom and likely lose at least 100 games.
I don’t think this is a division that the Mariners can win this year, but I could see them finishing as high as second place and as low as fourth. This will be a positive year for the Mariners and it will likely be enough for GM Jack Zduriencik to keep his job.