Mariners finalize deal with lefty Joe Saunders and designate Mike Carp for assignment

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From MLB.com’s Greg Johns comes word that the Mariners have officially announced their one-year, $6.5 million contract with left-hander Joe Saunders. The deal includes another $1 million in performance-based incentives and a mutual option for 2014.

To clear a spot on their 25- and 40-man rosters, the M’s designated outfielder Mike Carp for assignment. He’s a 26-year-old with a decent .740 career OPS and should draw interest from several teams.

Saunders, 31, registered a 4.07 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 174 2/3 innings last season between the D’Backs and Orioles. He had a 3.69 ERA in 212 innings with Arizona in 2011, though he struck out only 108 hitters.

Seattle has added Saunders, Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales, Kelly Shoppach, Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay so far this offseason. And Jon Garland and Kameron Loe, if you want to count them too.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.