Benson nears 3-year deal; 1-year deal for Leiter

Updated: November 19, 2004, 8:31 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Kris Benson and Al Leiter are likely to be back with the New York Mets next season.

Al Leiter

Kris Benson

Benson and the Mets closed in Friday on a three-year deal worth about $22.5 million, a baseball official with knowledge of the negotiations said on the condition of anonymity.

Leiter and New York were nearing agreement on a one-year contract worth $4 million to $5 million plus performance bonuses, the official said.

Benson was acquired by New York from Pittsburgh on July 30 along with infielder Jeff Keppinger for infielder Ty Wigginton, right-fielder Matt Peterson and infielder Jose Bautista. Benson, a 30-year-old right-hander, went 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 11 starts with the Mets and 12-12 with a 4.31 ERA overall.

Talks with his agent, Gregg Clifton, began soon after the trade.

"We've made tremendous progress over the last 48 hours, and we're getting within range where it's pretty much conceivable that we'll get a deal done," Clifton said.

Leiter, a 39-year-old left-hander, has pitched with the Mets for the past seven seasons and possibly could have interested the Yankees. After he went 10-8 with a 3.21 ERA in 30 starts last season, the Mets declined his $10.2 million option and opted to pay a $2.1 million buyout.

"We've had continuing conversations with the Mets," his agent, Alan Hendricks, said Friday.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press