Mets still negotiating with Manuel

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While the Mets rewarded Omar Minaya with a three-year contract extension Thursday, ownership was hoping to have an extension in place for manager Jerry Manuel, as well. The Mets made Manuel an offer of a two-year extension, according to sources, but thus far have been unable to come to terms.

Newsday reported Thursday that negotiations hit a "snag,'' and it is now believed the sides are indeed differing over Manuel's value. There are indications the Mets expected to have a deal for Manuel done by now. While Mets higherups will continue to negotiate with Manuel, there is a sense that they are perhaps slightly less certain a deal will be done.

"We are in discussions right now with Jerry. We'll probably continue to talk to him,'' Minaya said on a conference call to announce his own deal. "Right now, we're in the discussion part with Jerry as far as bringing him back for next year.''

On the day the team was eliminated, Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon both spoke glowingly of Manuel's overall performance in leading the team to a 55-38 record after taking over for Willie Randolph, and Manuel spoke hopefully about returning to the Mets the same day. Manuel established an excellent clubhouse rapport, but like his predecessor, lost a lead for a playoff spot in the final few weeks.

Mets management and Randolph engaged in difficult negotiations before he eventually agreed to a three-year, $5.65 million extension before the 2007 season. Manuel appears to more popular with his bosses, which should help matters.

It is unclear whether Manuel has the possibility of another major league managing job as leverage.