(CBS Seattle) – The Mariners have been busy in the off-season — there’s no denying that. But the focus has been more about improving the inept offense than bolstering a decent pitching staff.

Believe it or not, the Mariners actually threw the most shutouts in the American League during the 2012 campaign (yes, one was a perfect game and another was a no-hitter…no big deal) with six. Division rivals (and division winners) the Oakland Athletics had zero. The Mariners also got 89 quality starts out of their starters; only the A’s (AL West Champs), Tigers (AL Champs), Rays and Angels had more (in the AL). Lastly, the Mariners had the second-most “tough losses” (losses in quality starts) in the AL — meaning a starter went at least six innings, but was tagged with a loss (more often than not, an indication the offense didn’t show up that day).

In short, the starting pitching isn’t lights-out, but it’s definitely promising. Despite shipping away Jason Vargas, things are in good shape.

Turning to the bullpen, things aren’t as hopeful: second-to-last in holds and second overall in losses in relief. Those stats don’t sit well on their own and are even worse knowing the Mariners’ relief squad came in with the game tied more than any other AL team sans the White Sox.

It’s time for the M’s to scan the free agent relievers on the market now that they’ll likely come cheaper than they would have during the winter meetings.

Here are the significant guys who are still out there entertaining offers:

Matt Capps
Rafael Soriano
Jose Valverde
Brian Wilson
Brett Myers
J.P. Howell
Chad Durbin
Kyle Farnsworth
Kevin Gregg
Bobby Jenks
Mark Lowe
Jon Rauch

Glancing over that bunch, you’d probably be a little more excited if the year was 2009 or something, but it’s not a bad list.

CBS’ Scott Miller tweeted that there is lots of interest in Brian Wilson around the league who was non-tendered by the Giants in November. With Wilson, though, you’re getting a guy who may not give you the best bang for your buck. He’s energetic, has tons of personality, a fan favorite (as long as he’s on your team) and puts winning before anything — even the beard. However, all that cheer-leading from Wilson doesn’t cover up the fact he missed the entire 2012 season for Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career.

Looking at that list…who do you think can help the Mariners’ pen most effectively?

-Chris Coyle, CBS Seattle

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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