Mariners sign Saunders, designate Carp for assignment

Needing to clear a roster spot for newly signed left-hander Joe Saunders, the Seattle Mariners threw back a Carp.

The Mariners finalized their one-year, $6.5 million deal with Saunders on Tuesday, and they designated outfielder/first baseman Mike Carp for assignment.

Carp was limited to being the first baseman or designated hitter for most of last year after suffering a shoulder injury while playing left field in the season opener. He was viewed as a front-runner to play first base in 2013 before the Mariners acquired Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse in the offseason, both potential first basemen.

In 56 games last year between shoulder problems, Carp hit .213 with a .312 on-base percentage, a .341 slugging percentage, five homers and 20 RBI. He has a .255/.327/.413 career batting line with 18 homers and 71 RBI over parts of four seasons with Seattle.

Within the next 10 days, the Mariners must trade or release Carp, or they could try to pass him through waivers to outright him to the minors.

Saunders, 31, passed his physical to complete his contract, which features a mutual option for a second year. The veteran left-hander split last season between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Baltimore Orioles, going a combined 9-13 with a 4.07 ERA in 28 starts.

He steps into a mostly right-hander rotation headed by Felix Hernandez, who agreed to a seven-year, $175 million deal Tuesday.

Saunders has pitched eight major league seasons for the Los Angeles Angels, Diamondbacks and Orioles, compiling a 78-65 record with a 4.15 ERA in 189 starts. He was an All-Star for the Angels in 2008, when he went 17-7 with a 3.41 ERA in 31 starts.

He pitched the Orioles to a win over the Texas Rangers in the 2012 American League wild-card game, and he was effective in a no-decision against the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series.