From the New York Post’s George King and Mark Hale :

On the day Jason Giambi’s steroid admission rocked the Yankees’ universe, the Bombers found time to correct a mistake they made when they foolishly dumped Mike Stanton following the 2002 season.

According to team and industry sources, the Yankees and Mets agreed on a swap of left-handed relievers yesterday, sending Stanton from the Mets to the Yankees for Felix Heredia(above), and some of the $2 million difference in their contracts.

Stanton, 37, is owed $4 million next season, while Heredia, 29, will earn $1.85 million and is due a $200,000 buyout if a $2.5 million option for 2006 isn’t picked up, and it won’t be.

The trade will be finalized when the Players Association signs off on it. Because Stanton, who pitched for the Yankees from 1997 to 2002, is waiving his no-trade clause and not getting a contract extension, the union wants to investigate the deal.

Yesterday, Stanton talked twice to Yankees GM Brian Cashman and once to Mets senior VP of baseball operations Jim Duquette and agreed to the trade that sends him back to the Bronx.

Stanton believed it was George Steinbrenner who gave him 15 minutes to take a two-year, $4 million offer following the 2002 season. When Stanton, who was on a family ski vacation at the time, declined, the Yankees made the same offer to Chris Hammond and he accepted.

Stanton hasn’t pitched as well for the Mets as he did for the Yankees. He was 2-6 with a 3.16 ERA in 83 games last season. Heredia was 1-1 with a 6.28 ERA in 47 outings for the Yankees and was demoted for a stretch to the minors.

The deal will mark the 13th time the Mets and Yankees have traded with each other and the latest since July 16, 2003, when they collaborated on a swap of Armando Benitez to the Bronx for three pitchers.