The Mets have commanded the baseball headlines in town for the better part of two weeks. The Yankees have been relatively low-key lately, and their immediate plans are to pretty much stay that way. "No rush," Brian Cashman said. "I wouldn't do anything just to do it."
When and if the general manager does make a move, it is likely to be something small-scale, which he has said several times since completing the deal for Javier Vazquez. He is looking at bolstering the bench, specifically a righthanded-hitting outfielder who would give Joe Girardi another option in leftfield.
Cashman is bargain-hunting, the reason the Yankees never made a play for premier free-agent outfielders Jason Bay, who signed with the Mets, and Matt Holliday, who re-upped with the Cardinals. The chance of a return by Johnny Damon remains slim, if not non-existent.
Reed Johnson, Randy Winn and Jerry Hairston Jr. are among the possible low-cost options, though Cashman said, "It might not just be a free agent. It could come via trade."
The Yankees made one move this week, avoiding salary arbitration with Sergio Mitre, who agreed to a non-guaranteed one-year deal for $850,000.
"When we signed him [last year], we said, let's rehab him for 2010; whatever we get in 2009 is a bonus," Cashman said of Mitre, who had Tommy John surgery in 2008. "The whole purpose is to have him as another choice here. He's got a great sinking fastball [when healthy] and gets ground balls. In the American League, in our ballpark, that's got a lot of value."
Notes & quotes: Joba Chamberlain will be among five recipients of the Thurman Munson Award Feb. 2 at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan at the 30th annual benefit dinner remembering the late catcher. Lou Piniella, Darryl Strawberry, Chris Duhon and harness racing driver Jason Bartlett also will be honored. For information, call 212-249-6188.