April 30, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) walks back to the dugout after he pitched the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2013 MLB Preview: Seattle Mariners

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It’s been a while since the Seattle Mariners have been good, and the only reason they’ve been relevant is because of Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez. But the team is hoping that the 2013 season will change their fortunes, and return them as closely to their 2001 dominance as possible. Its not going to be an easy task, and the Mariners got outbid on some crucial free agents this offseason that would have fast tracked them to success, but that won’t totally damn them to the fate they’ve been suffering through for the last few years.

Best Case Scenario

Even in their wildest dreams the Mariners aren’t going anywhere this season. But what can happen is a third place finish that helps boost morale and give fans something to look forward to heading into the 2014 season. There’s nothing to say the Mariners can’t finish in third place in 2013, and while a third place ceiling isn’t attractive to most fan bases in baseball, for Seattle it’s something that signals serious improvement and after the years they’ve had recently, any improvement is thought highly of.

Worst Case Scenario

The Mariners don’t improve, Felix Hernandez remains the only bright spot for the team and fans begin to revolt. There comes a point when the losing becomes too much to bare and Seattle fans are just about there. The Sonics are coming back, the Seahawks are one of the best young teams in the NFL, which leaves the Mariners cleaning up the crumbs in the cellar.

Most Likely Case

Seattle will improve, but maybe not to a third place team. Realistically, the Mariners are a fourth place team, but it’s a hard fourth place that still manages to get fans excited about the future of the ballclub. Besides, at the end of the day, with the Houston Astros in the division now the Mariners are guaranteed to never finish in last place ever again, and maybe that’s all the boost they need to try and get better for the future.

There is serious talent on the farm for the Mariners, but the key is tapping into it at the right time and making sure its ripe for the picking when said talent is called upon. But if the Mariners are patient, and play their cards at the exact right time (and catch some considerable breaks along the way), the slump may be broken and the Seattle may end the season on a high note heading into the 2014 season.

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