Originally written on Oregon Sports News  |  Last updated 11/18/14

The 2012 season is all about defining roles and evaluating the young talent that the Mariners are counting on for the future. For the most part, the young talent has been a disappointment.

Casper Wells has been one of the bright spots this season. Since being recalled from the Triple-A Tacoma on June 13, he has been getting consistent playing time and has been the Mariners most productive hitter.  He is batting .301 with three doubles, one triple and five home runs during this stretch.

Consistent playing time is huge for young players. “It’s allowed me to have a consistent approach and not try to do too much at the plate,” Wells said. “I can be a little more relaxed, just knowing you’ll get a chance to play against righties and lefties alike. I think it’s made me dial into a really consistent mindset and approach at the plate.”

Going into the offseason, the Mariners will have some tough decisions to make with their outfield. The elephant in the room is Ichiro, who turns 39 in October. Ichiro’s contract expires after this year and his play has fallen off the past couple of seasons. Neither the Mariners nor Ichiro have indicated any talk about an extension.

Michael Saunders has also been a pleasant surprise in the outfield for the Mariners. He has been one of the most consistent hitters all season and has filled in admirably in center field for the often-injured Franklin Gutierrez. Saunders will be given the opportunity to play everyday next season.

It’s tough to say what the outfield is going to look like next season. It all depends on Ichiro. He does not fit into the Mariners’ long-term plans and will likely demand a multi-year contract for big money from a team that has cut payroll the last couple of seasons.

The decision to bring him back will not likely come from GM Jack Zduriencik who is responsible for player acquisitions. Japanese ownership and Ichiro will make the decision on Ichiro’s future with the Mariners.

If Ichiro doesn’t return, right field will belong to Casper Wells. It’s been a remarkable turn around for a young player who took full advantage of an opportunity that was given to him. Wells now is part of the young core of talent that the Mariners will be counting on next season.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Gronk reads erotica, sings Katy Perry at SB Media Day

Governor donates $10K to UNM hoops star’s cancer charity

U.S. Soccer: Hope Solo needs to do 'number of things' to return

K.J. Wright: Targeting injured players 'unacceptable'

Five reasons the Patriots will win the Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Five reasons the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl

Bill Simmons fires a shot at ESPN colleague Ray Lewis

Which teams are most squarely on the bubble?

Tiger Woods: 'There was blood everywhere' after tooth incident

Jerry Rice: Asterisk needed if Patriots win Super Bowl

Pete Carroll ok with Robert Kraft despite Patriots firing

Tiger on wearing mask: ‘Not a lot of brown dudes at ski races’

Putting the Cleveland Cavaliers’ pieces together

Brodeur to retire immediately and join Blues front office

Michael Bennett talks about sex superstition, calls reporter gay

As Patriots prepare, it's easy to forget about Hernandez

Marcus Mariota's younger brother will play at Oregon

Marshawn Lynch on Media Day: 'I'm here so I won't get fined'

Ranking all 48 Super Bowls

'Goodell Must Go' mobile banners heading to Phoenix

NFL pushing College Football Playoff to change its schedule

Can the Yankees avoid paying A-Rod's milestone bonuses?

Tom Brady once got locked in a high school locker

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Putting the Cavs’ pieces together

Super Bowl XLIX: Key people to know

Ranking all 48 Super Bowls

Bill Simmons fires a shot at Ray Lewis

NFL pushing CFP to change schedule

Can Yanks not pay A-Rod his bonuses?

Petition started to remove Pats from SB

On John Wall's adidas J Wall 1 NYC All-Star Edition

NFL approved Pats' under-inflated balls?

Six best Super Bowl coaches of all-time

Five key matchups for Super Bowl XLIX

Early Big Ten predictions for 2015

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.