Tracing the Mariners' woes

The Mariners have a solid young core of pitching, but what else? Getty Images

They've been patient with young talent. They've built a team that's well suited, in many ways, to their home park. They've mostly avoided albatross contracts (with one glaring exception). If making the right moves on paper was all it took to build a winning baseball team, the Seattle Mariners would be serious contenders.

But that hasn't happened. The M's lost their 15th game in a row on Sunday. They've fallen out of contention in the AL West, all the way to last place. In their third season under general manager Jack Zduriencik, the Mariners aren't much better than they were when Bill Bavasi skipped town after a 101-loss season. Sometimes even the best laid plans fail to pan out.