By Ronald Blum
NEW YORK - Johan Santana is a contract extension and physical from going to the New York Mets.
After months of deliberation, the Twins reached a tentative agreement Tuesday to part with the two-time Cy Young Award winner for outfielder Carlos Gomez, and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey, two people familiar with the deal said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.
"If it's true, obviously, you're getting arguably the best pitcher in the game," Mets third baseman David Wright said.
The next step is for the Mets to negotiate a contract extension with Santana, who is eligible for free agency after this season. The three-time All-Star is owed $13.25 million this year and likely will seek an extension of five-to-seven years worth at least $20 million annually.
New York and Santana have until 5 p.m. EST Friday to reach an agreement, a baseball official told The Associated Press, also on condition of anonymity. If the Mets and Santana strike a deal, the players would have to pass physicals and the pitcher would have to formally waive his no-trade clause.
The Mets emerged as the top candidate for a trade after the winter meetings, when the New York Yankees withdrew their offer, which included pitchers Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, and the Red Sox refused to improve their proposals, which would have sent pitcher Jon Lester or outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the Twins along with prospects.
Minnesota general manager Bill Smith called teams last weekend and asked them to make their best offers. Smith informed the Mets on Tuesday that he was accepting their proposal, which included their Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 7 prospects, according to Baseball America's ranking. New York did not include its top farmhand, outfielder Fernando Martinez.
A left-hander who turns 29 in March, Santana gives the Mets a replacement for Tom Glavine, who left New York to return to the Atlanta Braves. New York, trying to bounce back from a record-setting September collapse last season, has a projected rotation that also includes Pedro Martinez, John Maine, Orlando Hernandez and Oliver Perez.
Santana is 93-44 with a 3.22 ERA in eight major league seasons, winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2004 and 2006. He has been less successful in the playoffs, going 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA.
The tentative agreement was first reported by USA Today on its Web site.