It's a little bit silly to talk about competition with divisional rivals Texas and LA given this year's circumstances, but next year and especially the year after will be very different. Both the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels have put together teams with current success in mind, with sustainability less of a factor.
The Mariners general manager Jack Zdurienick, on the other hand, has and will continue to take great care in assembling a well-balanced roster that goes deep into the minor leagues but that will also produce championships at the major league level. Which is why I'm glad we have that guy. He does a good job.
Jack Z probably has a long-term plan laid out, whereas I'm just speculating based on what I've seen him do so far and what I see as beneficial to the team.
There will clearly be some disjoints in predictions here and what actually occurs over the next 12 or 18 months, but an avid fan's perspective and analysis of the team contains unique insights that make for an interesting read.
With all of that in mind, here are seven steps the M's must take in order to compete with the Rangers and Angels.