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Zack Wheeler Trade Rumors: Yankees Among Teams Interested in Mets Pitcher

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2019

New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler throws a pitch to San Francisco Giants' Joe Panik during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The New York Mets may not be sellers just yet, but if they go that route, starting pitcher Zack Wheeler could have a vibrant trade market.

Jon Heyman of the MLB Network reported that the New York Yankees would be one of the teams with interest in the veteran hurler:

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

Contenders are keeping a close eye on Mets, who’d prefer to be a buyer but would have big pieces to sell if they did do so. Zack Wheeler is the most logical big player who’d go if they sold (assuming they held Thor). Many teams — including Yankees — like Wheeler a lot.

The Mets (34-36) have struggled to start the season, falling 6.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves (41-30) in the NL East and five games behind the Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies (all 39-31) in the Wild Card chase. 

So the Mets are hardly out of the playoff picture at this point, and could play their way back into contention before the July 31 trade deadline. But if they don't, Wheeler would make sense as a trade chip for young prospects.

The 29-year-old has had an up-and-down 2019 season, going 5-4 with a 4.87 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 99 strikeouts in 88.2 innings. His ability to miss bats consistently is his strongest attribute—Wheeler has 630 strikeouts in 642.2 innings pitched in his career, and in his past 43 starts over the last two years has whiffed 278 batters. 

The Mets seem far less likely to make Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom available in a trade, even if they fall out of the playoff picture, so Wheeler—who will be a free agent after the season—would be the logical pitcher to shop.

And the Yankees would be logical buyers. The team has been beset by injuries this year, and that has included the starting rotation, with players like Luis Severino, Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga and Jordan Montgomery all on the injured list.

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Adding quality depth to the rotation should be a priority for the Yankees. And if Wheeler becomes available, it wouldn't be surprising if the Yankees at least kicked the tires on acquiring him.

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