The Seattle Mariners are in second place

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I know the bulk of you who read these morning posts don’t watch many Mariners games because of the tyranny of time zones, but I feel like it’s worth pointing out that the M’s are now 16-15 and sit in second place in the AL West.

They’ve done this by winning four straight games and nine of 11 overall. The freakiest part of that nine of 11 thing? Both of the losses in that stretch came during Felix Hernandez starts.

Three of those nine wins came against Houston and, no, beating Houston is not exactly a big resume piece. But the others have come against Texas (two wins) New York (two wins) and Oakland (two wins). They’ve averaged 5.72 runs a game in that span. Overall the M’s offense has not been insanely good, but it has been good by their own recent standards.

And, for the entire season they’re averaging more runs per game than the Yankees and Red Sox. Which, however flukey and early it is, is kind of fun.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.