Seattle Mariners: Tough Divisional Foes Will Remain in 2013

Todd Pheifer@tpheiferAnalyst IIIOctober 5, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 02:  Closing pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen #54 of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated by catcher John Jaso #27 after defeating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6-1 at Safeco Field on October 2, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Mariners are arguably making progress, albeit slowly. 

Though the M’s finished with eight more wins than 2011, there is still a general sense that the team is not necessarily on the brink of being a serious threat in the American League.

Certainly any team can come out hot and make a leap to that elusive “next level” when they start a new season. However, it is unclear if 2013 will be that year for Seattle. 

Part of the problem is competition. Every division has tough foes, but the AL West is arguably a stacked division. These rivals are not going away. Two teams in the West made the playoffs, and it could easily have been three.

You start with the Oakland A’s, who are quickly turning into the feel-good story of the year around the league. Their success is good news for Bud Selig, as they are the poster-child for small payroll success. Perhaps Moneyball really does work.

Then there is the Texas Rangers, who would have won this division had the A’s not gone on their amazing run. The Rangers may lose Josh Hamilton to free agency in 2013, but they will arguably remain a very potent offense that will challenge the Mariner pitching staff. 

Is the third-place finisher in the AL West a team that the Mariners will track down with ease in 2013? Not necessarily. On paper, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had the talent to make the playoffs. If the Angels had started the season with better than a 6-14 record, we might be talking about a very different postseason schedule.

The Mariners may get better in 2013. Some of the young hitters may become true threats at the plate. We may see prospects like Nick Franklin, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker. Perhaps Seattle will build a level of sustained momentum next season.

Then again, progress may still not be enough to catch the divisional competition. 

Hey, at least the Houston Astros will be joining the AL West. Maybe playing a 55-107 team will help boost Seattle’s confidence.

Related

    D-Backs OF Tomas Arrested for Driving Over 100 MPH

    MLB logo
    MLB

    D-Backs OF Tomas Arrested for Driving Over 100 MPH

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Players to Reject Pace-of-Play Proposal

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Report: Players to Reject Pace-of-Play Proposal

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Trout Will Be MLB's Highest-Paid Player in 2018...Finally

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Trout Will Be MLB's Highest-Paid Player in 2018...Finally

    Gabe Lacques and
    via USA TODAY

    Sabathia: Yanks Back to Status of 'Hated Team'

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Sabathia: Yanks Back to Status of 'Hated Team'

    Mike Mazzeo
    via NY Daily News