MLB Free Agents 2013: What the Seattle Mariners Must Do to Contend in 2013
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The Seattle Mariners have been fairly busy this offseason.
Whether it was the team's pursuit of prized slugger Josh Hamilton, or the recent flurry of activity that has seen the club pick up Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez, while parting with starter Jason Vargas, the Mariners have made headlines this offseason.
With Morales now being plugged into the lineup, Seattle has another reliable bat, and one that is capable of hitting for power, ensuring that Kyle Seager isn't the only big bat in the Mariners' lineup.
But there is still work to be done.
As it stands, Seattle still has some voids that need to be taken care of.
Luckily, there is still plenty of time and the necessary pieces are available for the Mariners in order for them to contend.
With most teams already being content with their offseason, now is the time for the Mariners to make their move and snag the final remaining big names left out there.
Here is how Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik can turn his team into a winner in 2013:
Sign Shaun Marcum
This move is a no-brainer.
Shaun Marcum is a solid starting pitcher, who can help bolster the middle part of any team's rotation.
He won't cost the Mariners a mint, and is a virtual lock to post a sub-4.00 ERA while winning more games than he loses.
Before being bitten by the injury bug in 2012, Marcum had logged at least 195 innings pitched in both 2010 and 2011.
His career WHIP is also impressive, coming in at 1.22.
Another plus is that the 31-year-old veteran has been battle-tested, pitching for several years in the AL East division.
With the Mariners needing a proven arm to replace the recently departed Jason Vargas, Shaun Marcum seems like a perfect fit.
Sign Michael Bourn
It won't be cheap.
It may not seem worth it right now.
Yet signing Michael Bourn would really help the Mariners take another step towards becoming a legitimate contender in the AL West.
It would give Seattle a top-of-the-order bat that gets on base, as well as a base stealer and speedy center fielder.
With the Ms seriously needing an upgrade in the outfield, Bourn seems like the logical choice.
In signing the Houston native, Seattle would be picking up one of the top free-agent outfielders on the market this offseason.
If Dustin Ackley can take another step forward in 2013, he and Bourn would be a formidable one-two punch at the top of the Mariners' lineup.
Sign Adam Laroche/Trade for Michael Morse
As the offseason marches on, it seems more and more likely the Washington Nationals are going to either re-sign Adam Laroche and trade Michael Morse, or let Laroche walk and hold on to Morse.
Whichever road they elect to head down, the Ms should be there to snap up the player they choose to part with.
Both Laroche and Morse would be upgrades to Seattle's lineup, and either one can play first base or DH, depending on what the Mariners want to do with Kendrys Morales.
Either player would bring power to the table, and either one would round out Seattle's batting order.
Making these three moves would significantly upgrade this Seattle Mariners team.
The three moves would all be realistic, fill team needs, and all can be done without bleeding the Ms dry financially.
The lineup would now have three legitimate power threats in Seager, Morse/Laroche and Morales (Michael Saunders can also go yard), and a capable table-setter in Michael Bourn.
The rotation would also have another reliable arm in Shaun Marcum, to complement the likes of Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.
Compare that team to the 2012 Oakland Athletics, and there is no reason to think that the Mariners couldn't compete for a playoff berth in 2013.
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