Whether or not you like the moves that the Seattle Mariners made this offseason, you must applaud the effort that the front office put into making the M's a better team.
When signing Josh Hamilton didn't happen, GM Jack Zduriencik turned to the trade market to acquire the necessary hitters to improve the Mariners lineup in Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse.
He also attempted to bring Justin Upton to Seattle, but that deal fell through when Upton refused to make the move to the Pacific Northwest, exercising his no-trade clause (instead, he ended up with his brother in Atlanta).
Zduriencik was also smart enough to realize that moves like signing Michael Bourn just weren't worth the cost associated with making that type of move (though the M's may still end up signing the veteran leadoff man).
But just how good is this Mariners squad?
Are Morse and Morales enough to turn this team into a playoff contender? Will some of the Mariners' young guns break out and make this team a tough one to play against?
With the division still boasting teams like the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics, as well as what could be the best lineup in all of baseball in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, making a run at the postseason may be too lofty of a goal for the Mariners in 2013.
Yet this team is better than the 2012 version of the Seattle Mariners, especially at the plate, and we must also keep in mind that the lowly Houston Astros will be joining the AL West division this season.
Those are both reasons to believe that the M's win total should increase from 75 last season.
Toss in the fact that the Oakland Athletics are going to have a tough time replicating their 94-win season, and there is no reason to believe that the Mariners can't improve their win total in 2013.
While a playoff run may not be in the M's immediate future, Mariners fans can look forward to their team improving in 2013.
Playing to a .500 record of 81-81 is not out of the realm of possibility.
It may not be what some Mariners fans want, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.