Seattle Mariners Need To Start Thinking About 2014

Seattle Mariners

Steven Bisig – USA TODAY SPORTS

The quality of the Seattle Mariners this season is about what we all expected it would be.

They are a sub-.500 team (55-63) that is a mixture of young potential talent and aging veterans hired for single-season deals. Some of the players that the Mariners took a risk on have panned out reasonably well, like Justin Smoak, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez. Others, like Dustin Ackley, Jeremy Bonderman and Jason Bay haven’t done the team much good this season.

Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik is in the final year of his contract with the team, and so he should be focused on ensuring that he has a job next year. Zduriencik did not make any deals before the July 31 trade deadline, but he should be very interested in players that have cleared waivers since then.

While it may not be clear how players like Justin Morneau and Jacoby Ellsbury would fit in with the team, there is no question that their veteran production and leadership would likely do the team good, even if it were only for the remainder of the season.

Some of the younger Seattle players should be sent down to work on their skills and be replaced with those waived players in order to finish the season with as strong a record as possible. Regardless who the Seattle GM is after this season, that person should immediately pursue players who have obvious talent to offer the team. Those names include Shin Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, and Brian McCann.

The Mariners have a strong farm system, but the players who have come up recently have struggled to be successful at the major league level. Kyle Seager is really the only success story of the last few years, and it’s too early to tell for rookies Brad Miller, Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino.

Seattle is at an interesting crossroads. The right course for them is hard to see as each option has its risks and potential payoffs. Only time will tell whether the foundation for a future championship was laid during the 2013-2014 seasons, or if that foundation was faulty in as-yet-unforeseen ways.

Regardless, the team should understand their goals for the rest of 2013 and make decisions with regard to the future.

Matt Lanka is a Mariners writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattlanka, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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