Three offseason questions for the Seattle Mariners after ALDS sweep

Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The drought is over.

After surprisingly staying alive until the final day of the regular season in 2021, the Seattle Mariners finally broke through in 2022 and ended 21 years of misery that went back to 2001 -- not just the longest playoff drought in MLB but also longer than any in the NBA, NFL or NHL. It wasn't a smooth ride as it took a 14-game winning streak in July to turn things around and they kind of stumbled into the playoffs in the stretch run, but at least the Mariners -- and their fans -- won't have to spend the entire offseason and spring training asking, "Will this finally be the year?"

Julio Rodriguez emerged as a superstar -- although his late-season back injury is a little concerning. The bullpen was one of the best in the majors and the rotation has depth, but the offense -- which failed to score in an 18-inning elimination loss in Game 3 of the ALDS -- still needs a lot of work. The Mariners' $131 million payroll ranked 22nd in the majors, but this is a franchise that has the capability to spend much higher. Since the next step is making up ground on the Houston Astros, they'll have to improve their hitting.

Here's a look at where Seattle stands following its ousting from the playoffs -- and three key questions for the club moving forward to 2023 and beyond.