Now that the Mariners have come up empty in pursuit of a trade for D-backs right fielder Justin Upton, the obvious question is, what's next?
Take an even bigger swing for Giancarlo Stanton? Go the free-agent route and try to persuade Michael Bourn to don Mariners blue? Set the sights on a smaller trade target like Mike Morse? See what the D-backs want instead for Jason Kubel? Switch gears completely and test the trade market of big-salaried veterans Alfonso Soriano or Vernon Wells?
Or count on the returning core of young position players to continue developing, particularly in a smaller Safeco Field next season, and spend their remaining money on starting pitching?
General manager Jack Zduriencik has quietly made several aggressive bids for offense this offseason, putting together a very competitive offer for Josh Hamilton and now making a big push for Upton. Clearly the club is interested in another impact bat in addition to first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales, who was obtained in a trade with the Angels for Jason Vargas.
Last year's trade of Ichiro Suzuki opened up some payroll and a spot in right field that logically could be used for the middle-of-the-order bat Seattle has been seeking for several seasons.
Read more: With Justin Upton a no-go, where do Seattle Mariners go in search of slugger? | MLB.com: News