The Mariners and veteran free agent starter Joe Saunders are close to a one-year deal, according to CBSSports.com and FoxSports.com. The signing would add a lefty to what would likely have been an all-righty rotation. Hector Noesi is likely losing his spot as the projected No. 5 starter.
Saunders spent most of last season with Arizona before being dealt to Baltimore in late August. He went 9-13 with a 4.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 112 strikeouts in 174 innings between the two teams.
He succeeded in 2012 in large part due to cutting down on his walk rate, allowing just 2.0 free passes per nine innings, almost a full walk per nine innings less than his career rate entering last season.
Saunders has enjoyed success in Seattle during his year, going 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 55 innings over nine starts at Safeco Field. His most recent start in Seattle came on Sept. 19 of last year, when he pitched eight innings of one-run ball while allowing five hits, no walks and one home run but not receiving a decision.