Not a likely source of offense.
It's more than common knowledge by now that the Seattle Mariners' offense is severely lacking. In fact, Buster Olney commented that the Cleveland Browns are to the NFL what the Mariners are to baseball.
There are a few key players that the M's could add to their roster to bolster their offense.
2011 triple slash: .290/.317/.416
Vladimir Guerrero will be 37 going into next season, but that won't stop this big-bopper from trying to sign a major league contract. The Baltimore Orioles gave him a one-year, $7.5 million contract—far more than any aging designated hitter should make—but the consensus is that he will want to play in 2012.
The Mariners' DH spot was a revolving door of mediocrity. Jack Cust only lasted 67 games and hit a measly three home runs. Vlad hit 13 at Camden Yards. Although there are signs of wear and tear, if the M's can land Guerrero at a cost that won't break the bank, his bat and presence will improve the lineup.
2011 triple slash: .251/.321/.375
Although Hideki Matsui's numbers were far below his career averages, he still could be an asset to any club looking to add a big bat. Continuing with the trend of adding through free agency and bolstering via the DH spot, Matsui will improve Seattle's lineup considerably.
Although his on-base percentage was a career low .321 last season, it would still be an improvement. Only two Mariners reached base with more than a .320 OBP, those players being Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak. Although they had truncated seasons, the sample size is large enough to determine that there needs to be an upgrade somehow, and Matsui would do just that.
2011 triple slash: .255/.303/.331
Magglio Ordonez will probably look for the same type of contract as Guerrero and Matsui, but he should come at a much cheaper rate because of health concerns. His biggest asset, however, will be his flexibility to play the field if needed. Ichiro Suzuki will need a day or two off, and Ordonez could step in and play backup every now and then. He's also from Venezuela, so the relationship between him and Felix Hernandez could be interesting.
2011 triple slash: .306/.361/.510
Where Aramis Ramirez will land during free agency is still up in the air, but there's no doubt he would bolster the M's offense. Currently, third base is a position that needs upgrading. Kyle Seager is still raw and needs to develop, and Chone Figgins, well, he's Chone Figgins.
One concern, however, is that Ramirez played particularly well in 2011, a contract year. He hit 26 home runs, which eclipses Seattle catcher Miguel Olivo's team-leading 19. His BABIP was slightly inflated, so we may see a decline in skill. However, there is no question his bat in the middle of the Mariners' lineup will mark observable improvement.
2011 triple slash .300/.385/.525 (two teams)
It's no question that the outfield is partly to blame for the lack of offense in the Seattle lineup. Carlos Beltran could be the guy to help that, in that he hit 22 home runs and slugged over .500 percent in 2011. He got a bad rap during the transition between the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants, but he actually did alright. His OBP with the Mets was in the .360s, and his OBP with the Giants was in the .390s, so he actually improved.
2011 triple slash: .225/.357/.462
Carlos Pena might be a risk, but he will be a risk worth taking. Although he might block someone like Justin Smoak at first base, he would actually do well to platoon there while spending most of the time at DH. Eric Wedge recently said that he'd like to have Mike Carp as the everyday left fielder, so platooning both Smoak and Pena would be ideal, being that neither one is particularly stellar with the glove.
His average might be declining, but he's never hit less than 28 home runs in a season within the past five years. That's the kind of bat the Mariners need.
2011 triple slash: .268/.338/.399
Although Jimmy Rollins is expected to re-sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, it's possible the Seattle front office could make a run at him. This will probably be the last season that Ichiro plays with the Mariners, and Seattle will need a new leadoff man once he departs. Rollins has served that role well over his career, and he would be a great addition to the clubhouse and lineup.
Although Brendan Ryan would either have to switch positions or be traded, Rollins would be an immediate upgrade in regards to getting on base, something that the Mariners have been severely lacking the past couple of years.
2011 triple slash: .309/.416/.531
The Cincinnati Reds have stated that they aren't willing to trade Joey Votto, but if the Mariners dangle Michael Pineda, Brandon League and Nick Franklin over their head, the Big Red Machine might have to listen.
Votto put up an NL-best .416 OBP, something that Seattle definitely needs to improve. He would be a great addition for the clubhouse, and he's under club control until 2013.
He suffered from a low BABIP this season and looks to bounce back and have another MVP-caliber year, much like in 2010.
2011 triple slash: .243/.333/.379
Hanley Ramirez has been known as somewhat of a firecracker in the clubhouse, but there's no doubt that this potential five-tool player would be a giant help to the anemic offense. He would be under club control until 2015—the same year Felix would hit the free-agent market—so quite the prospect package would have be to sent to the Miami Marlins to reel him in.
The Marlins need pitching, so the package would have to revolve around the likes of both James Paxton and Taijuan Walker, including a big league player or two.
2011 triple slash: .299/.415/.566
The best way for the Mariners to improve their offense for the next handful of years would be to take the plunge and sign Prince Fielder for a long-term contract. Reason being: you don't lose prospects. With players like Votto or Hanley, you have to give up some of the farm. That's the thing Jack Zduriencik has been working on the past three years. They have a bevy of talent coming up, and signing Fielder wouldn't derail their plans.
He's still young, and at the ripe age of 28, he will be hitting his prime. Up until 2014, we more than likely won't be seeing any signs of decline. He will be at his best.
Although there are those who say that deals like the one Albert Pujols was handed could cripple a franchise, as long as that team makes it to, or wins, the World Series, who cares? If the Seattle Mariners make it to the World Series by 2014, with the core they already have plus Fielder, it would all be worth it.
It would alleviate 35 years of suffering.