As expected, the Mariners jettisoned outfielder Casper Wells Sunday and made five other roster moves in order to reach the 25-man limit for Opening Day. Seattle launches the 2013 season Monday night (7:05 p.m.) against the defending AL West champion Athletics in the Oakland Coliseum with Felix Hernandez contesting Brett Anderson.
To reach the 25-man limit, the Mariners also selected RHP D.J. Mitchell and optioned him to AAA Tacoma, and re-assigned RHP Danny Farquhar, C Jesus Sucre, INF Brad Miller and OF Endy Chavez to the club’s minor league camp.
By designating Wells, 28, for assignment, the Mariners have 10 days to trade or release him. Bay, 34, was a free agent signed in the off-season after an injury-filled career with the New York Mets.
Wells Bay hit .321 with two homers while Wells struggled at .189 with two homers. With Raul Ibanez virtually assured of the fourth outfielder slot, Bay and Wells were in competition for the No. 5 spot from the beginning of camp.
Wells, who in 285 at-bats in 2012 hit .228 with 10 homers and 36 RBI, came from Detroit in the July 2011 trade for starter Doug Fister, who became a star with the Tigers, and reliever David Pauley. The Mariners also acquired relief pitchers Charlie Furbush and Chance Ruffin and infielder Francisco Martinez.
Former starter Furbush is a fixture in the major league bullpen. Martinez had 26 at-bats in spring and hit .269 while Ruffin pitched three innings and gave up three runs. Both have been assigned to the minors. Pauley was cut by the Tigers, then by the Angels and Blue Jays in 2012 before re-signing with the Mariners in July to a minor league contract. In August, he was suspended for 50 games for violating the minor-league substance abuse policy.
The 25-man roster has 12 pitchers, plus a 13th, Josh Kinney, on the 60-day disabled list. The roster includes two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders.
The Mariners have not reached the postseason since 2001, have had just two winning seasons since 2004 and are coming off three consecutive last-place finishes. Most predictions have the Mariners finishing fourth in the five-team AL West, ahead of only the division’s newest member, the Houston Astros.