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Saturday, March 31, 2012 - Page updated at 08:16 p.m.

Mariners 2012 Season Preview

Going green: The Mariners hope a budget-friendly, youthful core of Justin Smoak (from left), Jesus Montero and Dustin Ackley will power a turnaround. JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Going green: The Mariners hope a budget-friendly, youthful core of Justin Smoak (from left), Jesus Montero and Dustin Ackley will power a turnaround.

From attendance to cable TV revenue, there are factors off the field that affect the Mariners' success, including the fortunes of the team's owners. ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID MILLER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

From attendance to cable TV revenue, there are factors off the field that affect the Mariners' success, including the fortunes of the team's owners.

Mariners economics: As attendance, revenue dip, so do payroll and wins

Whether the M's can get back into the game's elite depends on a lot of things -- including TV revenues, attendance and the price of their players.

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Pitching prospects Danny Hultzen (from left), James Paxton and Taijuan Walker are spending more time together and are developing a bond that the M's helped facilitate. JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Pitching prospects Danny Hultzen (from left), James Paxton and Taijuan Walker are spending more time together and are developing a bond that the M's helped facilitate.

Mariners have high hopes for pitching prospects Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker

A trio of young prospects — left-handers Danny Hultzen and James Paxton in addition to Taijuan Walker — has emerged as the organization's "Big Three," upon whom much of Seattle's hopes for future success are focused.

The Mariners paid a high price to get Jesus Montero, a power-hitter the team hopes will provide a significant boost to a run-challenged lineup. JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The Mariners paid a high price to get Jesus Montero, a power-hitter the team hopes will provide a significant boost to a run-challenged lineup.

Meet the 2012 Mariners: starting lineup

Gone are veterans Jack Cust, Milton Bradley and Jack Wilson, and in are young prospects Jesus Montero and Dustin Ackley as the Mariners look to get out of the American League West cellar for the first time since 2009.

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Rising to the Top

Rising to the Top

Coming Monday, read how one Auburn elementary school has defied the usual pattern of high poverty and low scores.

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