Is it realistic for the Mariners to be in that position next year?
"That's what we're hoping to do," manager Eric Wedge said of playoff contention. "It may be a little quick when it comes to 'Rebuilding 101,' but it's not beyond the realm. Ultimately, what I want us to continue doing is getting better and doing it the right way.
"I came here to build a championship team and sustain that level of success. If that timetable is next year, then that's great. If not, I know we're going to continue to be better and get closer to that."
Wedge feels the Mariners made a successful step forward in 2012, improving from 67-95 in his initial year to 75-87 after Wednesday's season-ending 12-0 win over the Angels. He likes the young offensive core, the pitching and the defense. He likes the potential of some up-and-coming Minor League talent. And he knows more help is needed this offseason.
"The first thing that comes to mind is to continue to get better offensively," he said of winter plans. "If we can continue adding to that mix, that would be ideal. Without breaking it down looking at the free agent market and potential trade possibilities, you really can't dive too deep into it right now. But a veteran presence, particularly in the middle of the lineup, would be great. Easier said than done though."