RHP Mike Pelfry, the no. 9 overall pick in the 2005 Amateur Draft, signed a 4 year contract with the New York Mets earlier today. From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.

Pelfrey, a native of Wichita, Kan., who said in June that he’d never been to New York, is expected to trade skyscrapers for palm trees on Wednesday, making his way south to the Mets’ minicamp in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

He reportedly received a signing bonus estimated near $3.5 million, with $5.3 million guaranteed under the terms of the Major League contract. Pelfrey could earn more if he is on the Mets’ Major League roster in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Widely considered the top available pitcher in the draft, Pelfrey likely becomes the Mets’ top organizational pitching prospect. In his junior year at Wichita State, he went 12-3 with a 1.93 ERA in 19 starts, striking out 143 in 139 2/3 innings.

The Mets have avoided salary arbitration with Ramon Castro, signing Paul Lo Duca’s likely backup to a one year, $800,000 deal. Castro hit .244 with 8 HR’s and 44 RBI’s in 2005.

Detroit has invited reliever Matt Mantei to Spring Training, a development that should offer tons of encouragement to Billy Koch, Bobby Thigpen or Mark Wohlers.