Newsday’s Jim Baumbach and Ken Davidoff describe a trade of the Little ‘Stache as “inevitable.”

The Yankees’ auction of Gary Sheffield has progressed to the point that general manager Brian Cashman has a potential deal in place if he wishes to pull the trigger, an official from another American League team told Newsday yesterday.

But Cashman is not quite ready to make a trade. A person familiar with the team’s plans said “there is no urgency” to the process. The Yankees seem inclined to wait at least a little longer with the hope that the market for Sheffield improves.

The Cubs and Phillies are believed to be among the most aggressive teams in pursuit of Sheffield, who is an attractive, more affordable alternative to free-agent sluggers Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee. Those players will land long-term, multimillion-dollar deals, but all Sheffield costs is $13 million for one season, with at least $4.5 million deferred.

Although the Rangers and Indians are among the AL teams believed to be interested, the Yankees could decide to trade him to a National League team to avoid facing him next year. In addition to the Phillies and Cubs, the Padres, Giants, Braves and Astros are among potential NL landing spots for Sheffield, who wishes to play rightfield.

A Sheffield trade seems likely to happen before Sunday’s option deadline for a handful of reasons, including the desire of team officials to move on to other business on their offseason agenda.

Deposed ESPN analyst Harold Reynolds announced yesterday his plans to sue ESPN over his dismissal last summer. Though I suspect Jeremy Schapp will be assigned to another sitdown with Bobby Fischer before Reynolds’ former employer touches this story, perhaps there’s still a chance of resolution, especially if BBTN has chairs to fill. . Kruk might not survive the banquet circuit this winter, and it’s really just a matter of time before Steve Phillips is accosted in a hotel elevator by an admirer wishing to touch his throat.