Earlier this offseason, I wrote conflicting accounts about the Mariners’ interest in free-agent first baseman Mike Napoli, first saying they were “in,” then saying they were “out.”

Well, after checking with additional sources and circling back to others, I have concluded that they are indeed “in.” And while I have no idea whether the Mariners ultimately will land Napoli, their pursuit of him makes absolute sense.

The Mariners’ wish list includes, to varying degrees, Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo. The team also wants to add a starting pitcher and a closer, but offense is the priority. The Mariners are casting the widest net possible, fearing they still might get shut out.

In recent offseasons, the M’s failed to land Josh Hamilton and Prince Fielder in free agency and Justin Upton when he rejected a trade. Hitters look at Seattle and see the following: Bad team. Pitcher-friendly ballpark. Undesirable geography, particularly for players from Latin America who want to be close to home.

The Mariners need to change the conversation, establish a winning culture under new manager Lloyd McClendon, establish an identity. Problem is, all of the free-agent hitters they are pursuing – with the possible exception of Ellsbury, a native of Oregon - would accept comparable offers from more competitive teams before coming to Seattle.