Based on some nifty WAR calculations and a few best guesses concerning roles and playing time, the Mariners, as currently constructed, are within ten games of the Angels.
It's not that we're a particularly strong team, mind you; for now, we're staring a 75- or 80-win season in the face. It's that the Angels just aren't that good. They were a mid-80s win team a year ago, and now they'll be without their best player. I know the rotation is excellent, but a team isn't going to win 100 games with that lineup or that outfield defense. They're in questionable shape, and signing a slow slugging LF isn't going to make things much better. (In fact, we remain within ten games even in the event that they sign Adam Dunn.)
I'm sure we'll talk about this in better detail a million more times as the season approaches and the rosters take shape, but for the time being, make no mistake - while Zduriencik may not be saying very much about 2009, it's far from a lost cause. All we've wanted since early last summer was for a new front office to come in and rebuild with an eye towards remaining competitive, and from all indications, we're geting our wish. It's awesome.