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Mets, Jon Niese agree on 5-year, $25.5-million extension

Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets

Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers. (July 6, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Jonathon Niese and the Mets have agreed on a five-year, $25.5-million contract extension that includes two option years that could push the total value to $46 million, two people familiar with the talks said Wednesday.

The deal is not yet official, pending a physical scheduled for Friday, but the expectation is for the Mets to announce it on Saturday. The first option year is worth $10 million, the second $10.5 million. The deal was based on the recent five-year, $30-million contract agreed to last month by the Rangers’ Derek Holland. The Mets’ lefthander, at the age of 25, is about to begin his third full season in the majors.

Niese, as the club’s third starter, will face the Braves in the opening series finale Sunday at Citi Field.

Terry Collins, as well as the team’s front office, has raved about Niese since the start of spring training. His name briefly surfaced in trade discussions over the winter, but the Mets now view him as a young building block for the future. Before Tuesday’s flop against the Yankees in his final spring-training tuneup, Niese was 1-1 with a 3.98 ERA in five Grapefruit starts and struck out 19 over 20 1/3 innings.

Overall, Niese is 22-23 with a 3.75 ERA in 105 starts and two relief appearances for the Mets. Two of his last three seasons were cut short by injuries, but any conditioning questions the Mets had about Niese were erased when he arrived to camp this spring lighter and in better shape. Niese gave partial credit to the nose job financed by former teammate Carlos Beltran, who eventually footed the $10,000 tab.

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