Why the Mariners have a chance to build on last year’s winning season

The playoffs are a great goal, but perhaps it’s better to focus first on something smaller: rolling a modest success from one year to the next.

With another baseball season about to dawn, the Mariners have an obvious and lofty goal: To end their maddening, and increasingly embarrassing, playoff drought and advance to the postseason for the first time since 2001.

But with spring camp opening on Tuesday in Peoria, Ariz., perhaps it’s better to focus first on something smaller, but just as frustrating. Never mind winning a division title or a wild-card berth. The Mariners, for more than a decade, haven’t been able to sustain even modest success from one year to the next.

Since Lou Piniella walked away as manager after the 2002 season, an undeniable turning point, the Mariners have had five, count ‘em five, winning seasons in the ensuing 14 years: 93-69 in 2003, 88-74 in 2007, 85-77 in 2009, 87-75 in 2014, and 86-76 last year – each under a different manager (and four…

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