Third place possible for Mariners, but contention at least year away
Overview With or without Prince Fielder, the American League West has gotten a lot tougher for the Mariners. Armed with new local television...
2012: A look ahead
Seattle Times reporters take a look at what to expect from local teams in 2012.
With or without Prince Fielder, the American League West has gotten a lot tougher for the Mariners. Armed with new local television contracts, the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers began throwing money around this winter at Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and Yu Darvish.
Those division rivals smacked down hope of Seattle gaining on them in 2012. The Mariners will have their own chance at bigger television dollars in a few years, but for now, any contention plans are probably shelved until at least 2013. The team must continue developing talent from within, while seizing any external opportunity for long-term upgrades — like its pursuit of Fielder.
"It certainly creates a challenge in our division, no doubt. A bigger challenge than had already been there." — General manager Jack Zduriencik on the Angels signing Pujols.
With Oakland gearing contention plans toward a new ballpark in 2015, third place is within reach for the Mariners. The extent of on-field progress in 2012 should determine the fate of Felix Hernandez, under contract through 2014.
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