With the Mariners still sitting a few games under .500 as we start the September schedule, hope of the team grabbing one of the two AL Wildcard spots is becoming a bit difficult to fathom.
It's not that I'm giving up on the Mariners completely, just thinking it might be worthwhile to take a few minutes to consider some options moving forward for 2013.
Much like Christmas shopping, it's never too early to start looking...
In all honesty though, I don't expect the team to shell out a ton of money on free agents this winter even with Ichiro off the books, but at the same time there is the chance they could kick the tires on a few players.
For today, I'm going to focus on five players the M's could take a long look at this winter that are outside the organization.
So what exactly do the Mariners need?
Pitching? Not really...if they can re-sign Hisashi Iwakuma, their pitching staff should be set given what they have currently available at the major league level and what could be coming up from the minor leagues.
Sure, but for next year I'd imagine the team will give the likes of Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, and Justin Smoak one more year to grow before making any major decisions and the team also has a few decent options to choose from behind the plate. So outside of deciding whether to keep Brendan Ryan in the fold and whether or not either Nick Franklin or Mike Zunino is major league ready, expect the infield to stay relatively similar to what we're seeing now come Opening Day 2013.
With both the pitching and infield covered, that leaves us with the outfield.
Sadly the outfield has left us with more questions than answers and with the possible exception of Michael Saunders, who has left us with any long-lasting positive impression this year?
So who might the M's actually pursue or at least look longingly towards?