Chone Figgins designated for assignment by the Mariners

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The Chone Figgins era is over in Seattle. Mercifully.

From Greg Johns of MLB.com comes word that the Mariners designated the 34-year-old utilityman for assignment, removing him from their 40-man roster. He’ll either be traded or released within the next 10 days, and we would bet good money on the latter.

Figgins got a four-year, $36 million free agent contract from the M’s before the start of the 2010 season, then went on to bat just .227/.302/.283 with 104 total runs scored and 61 total RBI in 308 games with the team. He still has one year and $8 million remaining on that deal, but the Mariners are content with chalking it up as a sunk cost at this point.

Figgins started only 38 games for Seattle this past summer while earning a salary of $9 million.

The Mariners also designated outfielder Scott Cousins for assignment on Tuesday night.

Brandon Morrow shut down for the rest of the season

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Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.

It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.

Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.

Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.