Mariners target free agent Batista

Mariners set to ink free agent Batista

SEATTLE -- It appears that the Mariners might have their starting rotation for 2007 filled before Christmas.

According to sources, Seattle is close to signing veteran right-hander Miguel Batista to a three-year contract.

Batista, who turns 36 on Feb. 19, was 11-8 with a 4.48 ERA in 34 games (33 starts) for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006. It was the sixth consecutive season in which Batista has appeared in 30 games or more.

Batista, who has a career record of 68-79 with a 4.46 ERA over 12 seasons, is mostly a ground-ball pitcher.

If Batista does indeed sign with the Mariners, their rotation for 2007 would be close to set, with Felix Hernandez, Jarrod Washburn, Batista, recently acquired Horacio Ramirez and likely either Cha Seung Baek or Jake Woods as Seattle's starters.

Corey Brock is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.