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Niese agrees to five-year extension

Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese throws during the

Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese throws during the top of the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. (Apr. 19, 2010) Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Mets and Jon Niese Wednesday agreed to a contract extension for five years and a guaranteed $25.5 million, according to two people familiar with the situation. A pair of options years could bring the total value of the deal to $46 million.

Niese, 25, will undergo a physical Friday; assuming he passes, the deal will be announced on Saturday, according to the person. Niese is slated to start the Mets' third game of the season on Sunday against Atlanta.

Niese has a career record of 22-23 with a 4.39 ERA. He went 11-11 last season with a 4.40 ERA before he was shut down in August because of a strained muscle on his right side.

Niese has never pitched more than 173 2/3 innings and has a career ERA of 4.73 away from Shea Stadium and Citi Field since coming up in 2008. It's 4.12 in his home ballparks, both of which have been pitcher-friendly.

But the Mets obviously see enough in the lefthander to lock him up before he becomes arbitration-eligible after this season.

The Niese extension could also be a signal that the Mets, flush off their settlement with the trustee in the Bernie Madoff case and after an infusion of $240 million from minority investors, are more willing to spend money.

R.A. Dickey could be next in line for an extension. The knuckleballer has a team option for next season at $5 million.


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