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Projecting the 2013 Seattle Mariners and beyond

This is a simple list that projects the contributions that the Mariners get from each position and what kind of team it all adds up to. It's far from exhaustively researched and many of you would likely project certain players a little differently, but work with me here.

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Replacement Level team = 54 wins

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Position - Player

Projected wins, variable wins

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C - John Jaso / Jesus Montero

2 wins, 1-4 wins

1B - Kendrys Morales

2 wins, 1-3 wins

2B - Dustin Ackley

2 wins, 2-4 wins

3B - Kyle Seager

2 wins, 1-4 wins

SS - Brendan Ryan

2 wins, 1-3 wins

LF - Casper Wells / Eric Thames

1 win, 0-2 wins

CF - Franklin Gutierrez

1 win, 0-3 wins

RF - Michael Saunders

2 wins, 1-3 wins

DH - Justin Smoak

-1 win, -1-1 win

Bench

-1 win, -2-1 win

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SP 1 - Felix Hernandez

5 wins, 4-6 wins

SP 2 - Hisashi Iwakuma

2 wins, 1-3 wins

SP 3 - Erasmo Ramirez

1 win, 0-2 wins

SP 4 - Blake Beavan

0 wins, -1-1 win

SP 5 - Hector Noesi

-1 win, -2-1 win

Bullpen

3 wins, 1-4 wins

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Projected: 78-84

Unluckiest year: 63-99

Luckiest year: 99-63

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Possible additions:

CF - Michael Bourn

4 wins, 3-6 wins

Projected: +4 wins

Unlucky year: +3 wins

Lucky year: +6 wins

SP 2 - Kyle Lohse

2 wins, 1-3 wins

Projected: +2 wins

Unlucky year: +1 win

Lucky year: +3 wins

DH - Cody Ross

1 win, 0-2 wins

Projected: +2 wins

Unlucky year: +1 win

Lucky year: +3 wins

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And there we have it. Right now, the Seattle Mariners look like a 76 win team. Unless you're the 2012 Baltimore Orioles, every luck factor usually doesn't swing in your team's favor and unless you're the 2010 Seattle Mariners, every luck factor usually doesn't swing out of your team's favor. But, there is a good chance that things will swing a little bit one way or another, so the Mariners may have a rough go of things and win 72 games or they may have things break their way and win 80 games (almost a .500 team!).

Jack Z still has the opportunity to add pieces to the 2013 team. If he goes all in and is lucky enough to land three more big pieces, we would be looking at an 84 win team with a low luck record of 80-82 and a high luck record of 88-74 (playoffs almost!). If he instead adds just one or two more pieces, then expect a few more wins or a few less wins either way.

The way I see it, the Mariners have an opportunity to be legitimately competitive if they open their wallets and make a huge splash this off-season. But, even if they do, they'll still need more than a little luck if they want to sneak into the playoffs. If the Mariners spend conservatively, then they'll likely be out of competition for yet another year unless a lot of things break their way. Young players will have to all play up to their potential and trusted veterans will have to do their part.

Sizable contributions look to be on the way in a few years for the rotation of the future in Paxton, Hultzen and Walker. The lineup could improve a little bit too in a few years once Zunino and Franklin arrive and once Ackley, Smoak and Montero get accustomed to Major League pitching.

So, the Seattle Mariners organization is actually looking okay right now. Perhaps the team's biggest problem, that their division suddenly became maybe the toughest in baseball, is largely out of their hands. But, the second wild card does make this more manageable. Overall, with a fairly average team on the field right now and with high ceiling young players on the way in a few years, the Seattle Mariners could be competitive soon, especially with good free agent additions when the time is right.

What does everyone else think?

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