The Seattle Mariners need offense, and after that, a little more offense.
Had they had a big-league attack in 2010, who knows, they might actually have made a run at Texas - especially if they'd been in position to keep Cliff Lee beyond early July. As they head into the off-season, the Mariners are facing the grim reality of a budget that simply won't allow them to pursue the biggest bats available through free agency.
As big a problem? Two teams ahead of them in the American League West, Texas and Los Angeles, can afford to add.
The Angels, in particular, are looking to rebound with hitter or two, and beat writer Lyle Spencer says the team has a shopping list that starts with Carl Crawford, Adrian Beltre, Jayson Werth and Adam Dunn. No, they don't want them all. But any one of them would inch them along - and likely widen the gap between Los Angeles and Seattle.
If the Mariners want to establish new credibility with their fans, they might as well acknowledge they're going young in 2011 - new manager Eric Wedge can see Justin Smoak batting cleanup. What the team cannot do is saddle Wedge with Jose Lopez or Milton Bradley as his No. 3 hitter.
Can't afford a Crawford or a Dunn, fine. Just don't hand fans another Casey Kotchman or Jack Wilson and tell them its an improvement.
And now, a few links:
- Speaking of free agents, Business Insider ranks the worst six signings of last winter and, not surprisingly, Chone Figgins was ranked second. A few other playrs Seattle and other teams pursued also made the list - Rich Harden, Nick Johnson and Jayson Bay.
- As winter and its dark, dreary nights moves in on us, why not start thinking about catching up with movies about baseball? Turner Classic Movies provides a list of its top 10 baseball flicks - and it includes two musicals.
- Jamie Moyer isn't ageless - he turns 48 next month - but the 267-game winner is considering pitching winter ball. Coming off elbow surgery, Moyer has thrown bullpen sessions for the Phillies, but hasn't faced hitters. Since he'll be a free agent after the World Series, Moyer wants to prove he's healthy and then sign with someone this off-season.
- The Angels filled the office of scouting director with a former Mariners prospect, Ric Wilson. Wilson spent six years as a catcher in Seattle's farm system, but never rose higher than Class AA.
- Oakland fired its trainer, Steve Sayles, in part because the Athletics used the disabled list 23 times in 2010. Of course, part of that could be put on GM Billy Beane, who signed oft-injured starters Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer, who spent most of the season on the disabled list.