On a day when there are so many happy baseball items to share —- Willie Randolph’s contract extension, Aaron Sele signing with the Mets, the Red Sox and J.D. Drew finally sealing the deal, the Yankees preparing to take over China, Frank Robinson’s new analyst gig with ESPN — a little doom and gloom must fall, this time on the already gloomy Pacific Northwest. From Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal :

In a blow to the World Series champion Cardinals, the Mariners have emerged as the front-runners for free-agent right-hander Jeff Weaver..

Weaver, 31, is deciding whether to push for a one or two-year deal, according to a source close to the negotiations. An agreement could be reached as soon as Thursday night.

The Cardinals, operating under the premise that they are out of the running for Weaver, will not attempt to acquire another starting pitcher, a major-league source said.

The Mariners have also been talking with free agent left-hander Mark Redman, but prefer Weaver. Redman, 33, is also drawing interest from the Royals.

Weaver would be the third starter acquired by the Mariners this offseason, joining right-hander Miguel Batista, who signed a three-year, $25 million free-agent contract, and left-hander Horacio Ramirez, who arrived in a trade from the Braves.