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Saturday, April 7, 2012
Mets make Niese's extension official

By Mike Mazzeo



The Mets made Jon Niese's five-year contract extension official Saturday morning.

Niese is guaranteed $25.5195 million, but could make up to $45.5195 million if both of his option years are picked up, sources told ESPN NewYork.com’s Adam Rubin.

"What we're looking to do is build a core of players that can be Mets and make the Mets competitive for a long period of time," GM Sandy Alderson said in a Saturday news conference. "I think Jon fits into that mold for us."  

Alderson cited "mutual interest in doing this" as the main reason the deal got done. The talks began in early March and concluded before the end of spring training. 

"It's an opportunity for him to get some security and us to make sure that he's with us for a long period of time," Alderson said. 

Niese, 25, went 11-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 27 appearances (26 starts) for the Mets in 2011. His season ended in late August because of a strained muscle on his right side. Niese's 11 wins were a career high. He is due to make his 2012 season debut Sunday opposite Atlanta's Mike Minor.

The reason Niese decided to sign the extension, he said, was because of his love for the organization, its fans and his teammates. 

The Mets' ownership last month settled the lawsuit filed by trustee Irving Picard, agreeing to pay up to $162 million, a fraction of the $1 billion Picard originally demanded from Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and their family and affiliates in the fallout from Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

The Mets have repaid loans of $25 million to Major League Baseball and $40 million to Bank of America, and have closed on the sale of 12 limited-partner shares for $20 million each.

"It would be a little speculative of me to say that this was more likely to happen after those settlements than it was before," Alderson said. "That may have had something to do with it. But the bottom line is that through the dialogue, it happened. We may have reached this contract agreement anyway, but it is hard to ignore those other issues were resolved."

Manager Terry Collins likes the fact Niese has three types of fastballs (four-seamer, sinker and cutter). The manager called Niese's curveball "one of the best in the game." Niese is also working on a changeup to add to his repertoire.