Figgins, 34, thus becomes a free agent able to sign with any Major League team. The Mariners released him with one year and $8 million remaining on his original four-year, $36 million contract.
If Figgins signs with another club for 2013, the amount of that contract would be subtracted from the $8 million that the Mariners still owe him.
After an All-Star season with the Angels in 2009, when he hit .298 with a .395 on-base percentage and a Major League-leading 101 walks, Figgins struggled in Seattle. He batted .227 with a .302 on-base percentage over three seasons and hit just .188 and .181 the last two years.
In eight years with the Angels, Figgins hit .291/.363/.388 with 280 stolen bases and 596 runs in 936 games. His three-year numbers with the Mariners were .227/.302/.283 with 57 stolen bases and 104 runs in 308 games.
When Figgins was designated for assignment, the Mariners had 10 days to trade or release him. They chose to release him Wednesday, with no trades obviously in the works.
General manager Jack Zduriencik said last week that he'd tried to trade Figgins over the previous months, but nothing came of it.
"I talked to many teams and made a lot of calls," Zduriencik said. "There was some curiosity, if you will, but I didn't have anyone say they'd take him. Otherwise it wouldn't have got to this point."
That task wouldn't have gotten any easier once Figgins was designated, since teams could simply wait for his official release when he became a free agent, which happened Wednesday.