NEW YORK -- The Mets have assured themselves of being an entertaining enterprise next season by agreeing to a contract with a skilled first baseman and hitter of significant resume.
Keith Hernandez is coming back.
A person familiar with the situation said on Monday that Hernandez and SNY, the Mets' cable station, have agreed in principle on a contract that will extend the color commentator's relationship with the club and the network through at least 2011.
The person said that an agreement was reached last week and speculated that only details remained in the negotiations.
Hernandez caused ripples following the Mets' final game of 2009 when, as he and broadcast-mates Gary Cohen and Ron Darling signed off, he hinted that he might not return for a fifth season in the booth.
"I've enjoyed the four years and, hopefully -- I'm in the middle of negotiating my new contract -- hopefully, I'll be back," Hernandez said.
Surprised by his partner's remarks, Darling said, "Are you [negotiating] now?"
"Hopefully, I'll be back," Hernandez replied. "If not, it's been a great four years."
Hernandez, contacted at his Florida home on Monday, declined to discuss the situation. But a person connected with the club confirmed hearing that Hernandez was close to returning and that an announcement was expected next week.
Darling and Cohen are under contract for the 2010 season.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.