Q. Under what general conditions could the Mariners add 100, 150 offensive runs?
A. Under the specific conditions that Prince Fielder added his +50, and then five other positions played better by +20 runs apiece.
Fielder replaces not Mike Carp, but Milton Bradley, Michael Saunders, Ryan Langerhans and Greg Halman, because Carp moves to LF in that scenario.
Q. They would add 20 runs at 3B ... how?
A. At 3B, the M's were -6 runs below RLP on the year. Seager, and/or Liddi, and/or Chone would need to be +1.4 WAR.
What a co-inky-dink. Seager was +0.5 in a third of a season. There are your 20 runs -- presuming Seager plays 3B. He wouldn't have to improve from his .258/.312/.379 line, including the slow start -- just get you 260/310/380 and third base is a done deal.
We don't say this is the gospel. We're only illustrating the many ways you can win (or lose!) in a Stars & Scrubs scenario.
Q. And the other positions?
A. Here are the runs above replacement at each 2011 M's position, at least per Fangraphs' UZR-heavy paradigm:
||2012 (avg = +20 runs)
||Fielder or whoever
||Seager, Liddi (Chone grr)
||Wells, Trayvon, Guti
In other words, simply replace all nine slots with league-average (+20) position players and the M's have about +150 runs. This is quite consistent with the team totals, for the 2011 Mariners were -167 batting runs below the AL average. (Don't forget that the bench players were also worse than normal.)
True, there are guys in there you might not like to go +20 runs above replacement, such as in CF. But of course Prince Fielder is +55 runs, giving you margin for error. Prince Fielder and two (+0) minor-league dweebs are equal to a package of three solid ML vets.
Q. Is this feasible?
A. Feasible or not, it is Jack Zduriencik's job description to attempt it.
I don't suppose that a pulmonary surgeon spends a lot of time worrying about a patient's 25% survival prognosis. He'd better get a good night's sleep and have a three-hit afternoon, as it were.
The question for us as fans is: how would the 2012 Mariners contend, if they did? ... and the answer is, one way they would contend, is by adding a Straw That Stirs, and then with several of the kids coming through for them.
Just for fun, here's that ginormous article on Prince Fielder's 2011 plateau leap. ... hey, AGone got great, and then got better. Why not Prince? Apparently, no reason...