Just yesterday, the reports indicated that the Mariners were "back in business" in their pursuits of Nelson Cruz and Fernando Rodney, and their pursuit of Cruz appears to be picking up. MLB Network Radio's Jim Bowden said on the air today that the Mariners could make an offer to Cruz as early as today (Twitter link from MLBN Radio).
Bowden also tweeted earlier today (prior to the above report) that the market for Cruz currently consists of the Mariners, Orioles and Rangers, with Texas only serving as a fallback option for Cruz should his market completely crash. Seattle is "clearly the best fit" for Cruz in Bowden's mind, he added.
Reports on the Mariners' ability to spend (or lack thereof) have gone back and forth since the team's blockbuster signing of Robinson Cano earlier this offseason. GM Jack Zduriencik quickly followed that mega-deal up by signing Corey Hart and swinging a trade for Logan Morrison, but since that time all has been quiet for the Mariners in terms of significant additions. Cruz is the most powerful bat left on the market, which would make him a welcome addition to a Mariners lineup that is in need of some thump even after the Cano deal.
Cruz would add another corner/DH bat to a mix that already includes Hart, Morrison and Justin Smoak, and his questionable defensive reputation would be magnified by the fact that other corner outfield options (such as Hart and Morrison) aren't considered strong defenders either. Mariners right fielders combined to bat just .239/.290/.400 in 2013, however, so Cruz's bat would be a clear upgrade.
As for the Orioles, they lack an obvious answer in left field and could also upgrade at designated hitter, though they recently signed Delmon Young to a minor league deal and could be looking at him as a potential platoon partner for David Lough in left field. From an offensive standpoint, however, Cruz would likely be an upgrade over that platoon or Baltimore's in-house candidates at designated hitter.