Sources say Young can earn up to $4.5 million if he reaches all of his incentives, a deal similar to the one left-hander Chris Capuano signed, sources said. Capuano received a base salary of $1.5 million and can approach the maximum if he throws 200 innings and makes 32 starts.
Sources said Young's incentives are a bit easier to reach. Young's base salary is $1.1 million -- $400,000 less than Capuano's base -- but the right-hander can max out at the same $4.5 million as Capuano with one fewer start and 20 fewer innings pitched.
Young can make an additional $1,525,000 based on starts 10 through 31, and $1,875,000 based on innings from 70 to 180.
That involves $125,000 for his 10th and 15th start, $150,000 for his 20th, $75,000 apiece for Nos. 21 through 25, and $125,000 each from Nos. 26 through 31. Young receives $125,000 for pitching 70 innings, $150,000 for 80 and each additional 10 innings through 150, $175,000 apiece for 160 and 170, and $200,000 for 180.
Young, 31, made three September starts for the San Diego Padres last season, after missing most of the season with a strained right shoulder.
That would allow rookie Dillon Gee to serve as a safety net. He likely would open the season at Triple-A Buffalo if the other starting pitchers are healthy.
Johan Santana will begin the season on the disabled list and may not return until June or July. The ace left-hander only recently was cleared by team doctors to begin tossing a baseball before spring training. He underwent surgery Sept. 14 to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.
"We're very pleased to have Chris. No doubt about it," said Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, who also employed Young while running the Padres. "We've been talking over the last several weeks.
"I've known Chris since he came to San Diego prior to the 2006 season. He pitched very well for us, made an All-Star team. ... Unfortunately, there were injuries along the way -- some typical baseball injuries related to shoulder. Some not so typical -- a line drive off the forehead from Albert Pujols. But we really believe Chris can make a major contribution to us."
The Padres had declined an $8.5 million option for 2011 on the injury-plagued Young, who had shoulder surgery in August 2009. He made one April appearance last season, then did not return until September. In three starts at the end of the season, he limited opponents to two runs and nine hits in 14 innings. His velocity was reportedly down, however, despite the success.
"There were no repairs that were made," Young said about his shoulder surgery. "It was kind of a cleanup. And I think I rushed it a little too fast out of spring training last year. Hindsight is 20/20. I wanted to get on the field as quickly as possible. I wanted to get out there. And I think that I pushed it a little bit too fast and didn't give it the time it needed to fully strengthen. I've had that time since then. I was able to pitch.
"Really, from the end of July on last year, most of those were in bullpens or rehab starts, but that's when I started a throwing program that progressed to the point where I was finally able to pitch in a big league game. But really from the end of July to the end of the season, there were no more setbacks. It was just a timetable that's normal for a pitcher starting spring training.
"I'm really excited about the way I feel right now. I feel healthy. I feel strong. I'm hopeful that it will hold up. I expect it to based on the work and the conditioning that I've done. I look forward to being successful. I'm throwing right now. I don't have a radar gun on me, but I feel the life on the ball and the arm speed is better now than it was at the end of the season.
"I feel like my arm is stronger now than it was at the end of the season. I was actually pleased at the end of the season. I felt like each start progressively the velocity went up about a mile per hour. That was just part of building arm strength, and unfortunately the clock sort of ran out of time."
The 6-foot-10 Young played basketball and baseball at Princeton.
The Mets also agreed to a one-year, $1.1 million major league deal with outfielder Scott Hairston.
The 30-year-old hit .210 last season in 295 at-bats with 10 homers and 36 RBIs.