Seattle Mariners: 2012 Season Preview...The Start of Something Big?

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Seattle Mariners: 2012 Season Preview...The Start of Something Big?
Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

The 2012 Seattle Mariners are once again a rebuilding team looking to improve upon last season's disappointing 67-95 record.

Fans of the ball club have been waiting for the better part of the last decade for their team to return to some form of respectability, but they have only been treated to flashes of false hope for the majority of that time. 

2012 in many ways will be a test for both the team and the fans, respectively. 

In all likelihood, the collective patience of Mariner Nation will be tested many times this year with the torch being passed from Ichiro (in what could be his final year in a Mariner uniform) to the likes of the promising young trio of Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak.

As for pitching, Mariner fans will have to wait for another young trio of prospects in Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton to work their way through Double- AA Jackson before potentially Felix Hernandez in the starting rotation. 

Beyond all of that, the M's have plenty of questions, but this season should help provide some much-needed answers and hopefully some long-term solutions. 

So before the M's "Get After It" Friday night in Oakland, I figured it might be worthwhile to preview the team's chances in 2012.  In this article I will quickly break down a few of the key points and how they may affect the team during the coming season...

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