The Major League Baseball trade market is starting to take shape, with a handful of contenders doing their research on potential trade targets.
One of the top trade deadline storylines beginning to develop is the arms race in the American League East, as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays all try to improve their pitching staffs with a pennant in sight.
While the buyers are evident at the top of the standings, the potential sellers are still coming to fruition since one hot run out of the All-Star break could motivate a team to keep possible trade targets and make a run at the postseason.
Other potential sellers have to weigh trading young stars in return for a prospect haul, or take a measured approach and only budge if a massive offer comes in.
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According to SNY's Andy Martino, the Yankees and Red Sox have been in contact with the New York Mets about starting pitcher Zack Wheeler.
Wheeler, who has a pair of 10-win seasons with the Mets, is 6-6 with a 4.69 ERA and 130 strikeouts over 19 starts.
Wheeler's ERA is inflated from some poor outings at the start of the season, but recently he has performed well for the fourth-place team in the NL East.
The right-handed hurler has given up two earned runs or fewer in three of his last four appearances, including a strong 6.1-inning outing against the Yankees.
The recent performances out of Wheeler suggest that any team that trades for him will get a pitcher rounding into form at the perfect part of the season.
Since they sit 13.5 games back of Atlanta in the NL East with a record 10 games under .500, the Mets could be in full selling mode by the time the trade deadline hits.
Getting something in return for Wheeler could help the Mets in the future, especially since the 29-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
The Yankees already have a crowded rotation with 10-game winner Domingo German being the top performer.
Aaron Boone's team also carries plenty of postseason experience with CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka in the rotation, but it never hurts to get better at the trade deadline for the right cost.
A year ago, the price to bring J.A. Happ in from Toronto was a pair of prospects, and the Yankees might have to put together a similar offer, or better, depending on what the Mets believe is best.
Boston could jump into serious conversations with the Mets because it needs to improve its rotation in its chase of first place in the AL East and one of the two wild-card spots.
You could make the argument that Boston's starting five is too lefty-heavy since Chris Sale, David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez are on the roster, and if it adds Wheeler, it could provide more balance to the rotation.
Given the interest that has already sparked up in Wheeler, it seems likely the Mets will trade him at some point, and if teams get into a bidding war for him, it will only benefit the Mets in the long run.
According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Chicago Cubs will be one of the teams interested in David Peralta if Arizona makes him available on the trade market.
"The Cubs are among the teams interested if the D-Backs sell and make Peralta available," Rosenthal said. "Peralta is the type of professional hitter the Cubs need. He would increase their outfield depth, bolster their lineup against right-handed pitching and he has one more year of control remaining after this one."
Peralta is currently on the injured list, but as Rosenthal noted in his report, Arizona expects him to be back well before the trade deadline.
In 73 games this season, Peralta has nine home runs and 44 RBIs, as well as 24 doubles and a .289 batting average.
An addition to the outfielders already on the roster would be a huge boost for the Cubs, who lead Milwaukee by half-a-game at the All-Star break.
Adding Peralta's bat to Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Albert Almora would give them a solid four-man rotation to help fend off Christian Yelich and the Brewers.
However, the Cubs need to approach any potential negotiations with caution since Peralta has been on the injured list twice this season.
There is also a chance the Diamondbacks might not be sellers at the deadline. Although Arizona is 13.5 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, it could go on a run and establish itself as one of the favorites in the NL wild-card hunt.
At 28-57, the Detroit Tigers might be one of the biggest sellers in July.
The Tigers have a plethora of intriguing players that could help teams, especially on their pitching staff.
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays have shown more interest in Joe Jimenez than Shane Greene.
In 38 games, Jimenez has conceded 18 earned runs and struck out 51 batters in 33.2 innings.
Tampa Bay, who is 6.5 games out of first in the AL East, could use some help in the bullpen with Jose Alvarado possibly out six-to-eight weeks with an oblique injury, per Topkin.
Adding Jimenez, or any other reliever on the trade market, would be a boost to the Rays, who will be competing with the Yankees and Red Sox for playoff places in the AL.
The conundrum facing the Tigers when it comes to Jimenez is he is 24 and could be one of the young pieces they want to build around as they try to work their way back up the AL Central standings.
But if the Rays, or any other team, come calling with a strong offer, the Tigers have to consider it since they are in rebuild mode.
Adding a handful of prospects could end up being more beneficial to Detroit if it decides to be a full seller in July.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.