NEW YORK (AP) -The Mets and Johan Santana's agent spent another day working on a contract extension, a deal that many in baseball expected to be completed before Friday's deadline.
Team officials met Thursday with Peter Greenberg in Manhattan for the second consecutive day. The sides must reach an agreement by 5 p.m. EST on Friday for New York to complete its blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Twins.
Santana was likely seeking a contract worth more than $120 million over six or seven years, while New York prefers not to go any longer than five years. An agreement was expected, but in the end the Mets might have to bend a bit.
They created quite a stir Tuesday by reaching a tentative trade agreement with Minnesota and surely don't want to let the two-time Cy Young Award winner slip away. That would infuriate many fans who got excited about the team this week for the first time since New York's monumental collapse last September.
Both sides stayed mum about details of the negotiation. Santana's agent, Peter Greenberg, did not return an e-mail seeking comment. Asked if he had an update, Mets general manager Omar Minaya e-mailed a one-word reply: ``No.''
After an agreement on a contract, players in the trade would have to pass physicals for the swap to be finalized. On Tuesday, the Twins accepted New York's offer of four prospects for Santana: outfielder Carlos Gomez, and right-handers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.
Santana, who turns 29 in March, can become a free agent after the 2008 World Series and the Twins don't have the budget to re-sign him. Minnesota offered him an $80 million, four-year extension this offseason, but he turned it down.
Any new deal for the left-hander was expected to set a record for pitchers, surpassing the $126 million, seven-year contract Barry Zito got from the San Francisco Giants last offseason.
New York has the resources to offer such a salary. The Mets drew 3.85 million fans last season, they have their own regional sports network and plan to move into a new ballpark in 2009. Still, the team would undoubtedly like to avoid going over the luxury threshold this year.
For purposes of the luxury tax, the Mets' payroll stands at $114.2 million for 20 signed players, including $10 million in benefits. Add in midpoints for the four players remaining in arbitration, and it's up to $125.1 million.
Figuring in the addition of Santana at more than $20 million, several players making close to the minimum $390,000 and 10 or so on option to the minor leagues, and the Mets' payroll will approach the $155 million luxury tax threshold this year.
Last year, only the Yankees ($207.7 million) and Boston Red Sox ($163.2 million) were over the luxury tax threshold. For the tax, payrolls are calculated using average annual values.
As for regular payroll, the Mets are at $107.7 million. The payroll increases to $118.7 million when adding in the arbitration players at their midpoints.
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AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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