MIAMI (AP) – The cost-cutting Florida Marlins finalized their big trade with the Mets on Thursday, sending slugger Carlos Delgado to New York for first baseman Mike Jacobs and two minor leaguers.

The Mets will also receive $7 million from the Marlins to help cover the $48 million Delgado is owed over the next three seasons. The minor leaguers going to Florida are pitcher Yusmeiro Petit and infielder Grant Psomas.

“One of our goals this offseason was to acquire a big bat for the middle of our lineup,” Mets general manager Omar Minaya said. “Carlos Delgado certainly fits that description. He’ll be a superb fit for our lineup.”

The teams reached a preliminary agreement on the deal Wednesday, but it needed to be approved by the commissioner’s office because more than $1 million is changing hands.

The two trades would cut Florida’s payroll, which was $60 million at the start of last season, by about $27 million for 2006.

Delgado hit .301 with 33 homers and 115 RBIs in his lone season with the Marlins, reaching 30 homers for the ninth consecutive year. The 33-year-old first baseman, who spent his first 12 major league seasons with Toronto, has a .284 career average with 369 homers and 1,173 RBIs.

He also attracted attention for protesting the U.S.-Iraq war by refusing to stand when “God Bless America” was played at major league ballparks.

Delgado nearly joined the Mets last season before signing a $52 million, four-year deal with Florida. But he was disenchanted with the way the Mets recruited him a year ago, saying the team tried to appeal to his Latin heritage too much.

Now, the two-time All-Star slides into a New York lineup that also includes center fielder Carlos Beltran, left fielder Cliff Floyd and third baseman David Wright. Delgado’s .393 career on-base percentage should help a team that finished tied for 12th in the NL in that category last season at .322.

The 25-year-old Jacobs hit .310 with 11 home runs and 23 RBIs in only 30 games for the Mets this year.

He finished eighth among NL rookies in homers and became the first player in major league history to hit four homers within four days of his major league debut.

Petit, a 21-year-old right-hander, went a combined 9-6 with a 3.60 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 24 starts last season between Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Binghamton. Psomas, 23, played 99 games with two Class-A teams, hitting a combined .301 with 20 homers and 69 RBIs.

“We look forward to Yusmeiro Petit joining our stable of outstanding young pitchers,” Beinfest said. “Mike Jacobs provides a quality left-handed bat and figures to be in the mix at first base. Grant Psomas had an excellent year in A-ball last year and we’re glad to bring him into our organization.”

While completing the Delgado deal, New York also was trying to sign All-Star closer Billy Wagner, who completed a two-day visit on Tuesday. The Mets offered the free agent a three-year contract worth just more than $30 million, a deal containing an option for 2009 that could increase the package to $40 million.

Philadelphia is trying to re-sign Wagner.

AP-ES-11-24-05 2140EST


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