Despite generally modest expectations coming into the year, the Mariners have remained in playoff contention all season. Seattle enters play tonight with a 72-62 record, three and a half games back of the Red Sox for the American League’s final postseason spot (with the A’s also ahead of them). That’s in spite of a fairly youthful roster that many onlookers didn’t believe capable of sticking with the best teams in the AL over a 162-game campaign.

Regardless of whether the Mariners make it to the playoffs, the upcoming offseason will be pivotal. The franchise has reached the end of its recent retool, and expectations will certainly be higher entering 2022 than they were coming into 2021. It seems the time has come for the front office to more aggressively supplement the young core that has already cracked or will crack the majors in the near future.

“We will be more active in free agency than we have been in years past,” president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto confirmed to MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM this afternoon. Seattle’s front office leader pointed to the franchise’s ample long-term payroll space, as well as the club’s ability to target more specific areas of need now that they’ve had certain players emerge as internal building blocks.

The Mariners have almost no guaranteed money on the books for next season. Only Marco Gonzales ($5.75MM), Ken Giles ($5.25MM), Chris Flexen ($3.05MM) and Evan White ($1.4MM) are locked into the ledger at the moment. Seattle will have to decide on options for Yusei Kikuchi (whose complex contract situation MLBTR’s Steve Adams explored in July) and Kyle Seager, and players like Mitch Haniger, J.P. Crawford and Diego Castillo will be due raises via arbitration.