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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Zack Wheeler, Edwin Diaz, More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 30, 2019

New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler throws during the second inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Friday, July 26, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

The New York Mets have been at the center of the MLB trade rumor mill for most of the last week since they possess some intriguing assets on the pitching market. 

As of Tuesday morning, the Mets brought in Marcus Stroman from Toronto and dealt Jason Vargas to Philadelphia, but that could just be the start of their moves before Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. 

Zack Wheeler and Edwin Diaz are among the Mets receiving the bulk of interest as a handful of contenders hunt for pitching reinforcements. 

Because there is so much demand for starters and relievers, the Mets are far from the only franchise that could sell in the next 24 hours to a ballclub involved in the playoff hunt. 

                

Latest MLB Trade Buzz

Zack Wheeler

Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

After the Mets brought in Stroman in exchange for a pair of pitching prospects, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported they were "increasingly unlikely" to sign Wheeler to a contract extension.

Passan also noted there was a possibility of either Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard being shipped away before Wednesday. 

USA Today's Bob Nightengale noted that a pair MLB front-office personnel told him Houston would end up with Wheeler. 

After a two-week injury absence, Wheeler gave up three earned runs on six hits in 5.1 innings of work against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. Before his injury setback, Wheeler put together three straight games of conceding two earned runs or fewer versus the Phillies, Cubs and Yankees.

Wheeler's performances against a trio of playoff contenders should be a positive sign for teams like Houston that are interested in his services. 

Houston holds an eight-game advantage over Oakland in the American League West and could be looking to make an addition to the front end of its rotation in pursuit of a championship.

Wheeler could be the best option on the market for the Astros since they are not interested in including top prospect Kyle Tucker in a Syndergaard trade, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal

Since Wheeler is a free agent at the end of the season and Syndergaard has two years of control left on his deal, the Mets would likely have a lower price tag on the 29-year-old.

But the one concern Houston could have about a potential deal for Wheeler is it would have two impending free agents, with Gerrit Cole as the other. 

If the Astros are looking to acquire a player with more control, Wheeler is not the best fit for the team with the best record in the AL. 

Houston is not the only AL West team with reported interest in Wheeler, as Oakland reached out to the Mets about the right-handed pitcher and Syndergaard, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Athletics are in the second wild-card position in the AL and already improved their roster by adding reliever Jake Diekman and starter Homer Bailey.

Oakland could be aggressive for a starting pitcher because it has a strong bullpen in place, even before the acquisition of Diekman.

Since Wheeler could be a rental, the A's might not face a disadvantage that they would for Syndergaard, which should motivate them to at least try and make a deal.

                    

Edwin Diaz

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Tampa Bay Rays have done their due diligence on Diaz. 

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the price for the closer is high because of how he is viewed across the league, despite experiencing some bumps along the road in his first year in Queens. 

Olney also tweeted the Boston Red Sox have inquired about Diaz's availability, and there is internal belief the third-place side in the AL East can bring in a reliever. 

On Monday, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand said there was "nothing close" between the Mets and Red Sox. 

Boston has good reason to go after help on the trade market because it has an upcoming weekend series with the Yankees in the Bronx.

A second consecutive series win over the division leader could place the Red Sox back in the thick of the AL East race; Boston is nine games behind. 

The Rays, who are 8.5 games behind, could put themselves in a better spot than the Sox during a three-game set that begins Tuesday at Fenway Park. 

If that goes well, the Rays could carry momentum through August with Miami, Toronto, Seattle and San Diego on the schedule over the next two weeks. 

With Diaz in tow, Tampa Bay could make a run at the Yankees, who are experiencing pitching struggles and recently placed CC Sabathia on the injured list. 

However, bringing in Diaz would come at a significant cost because of his stature and the three years of arbitration he has remaining on his deal. 

Since the Mets set the market for pitchers by sending two players to Toronto for a pitcher with one additional year of control, they are well within their rights to ask for more in negotiations for a pitcher with multiple years left. 

If the Rays and Red Sox believe the price tag set on Diaz is too high, they could look elsewhere, with the relief market becoming more robust as buyers get more desperate and the intentions of sellers become clearer.

                      

Tanner Roark

Morry Gash/Associated Press

According to Passan, the Reds have shifted into being sellers at the deadline and that Tanner Roark is likely to have a new home before the deadline. 

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Friday the Philadelphia Phillies had interest in Roark, but on Monday, the third-place team in the NL East brought in Vargas. 

Olney threw out a hypothetical regarding the Cleveland Indians in which they could trade Trevor Bauer and end up with someone like Roark to fill his void.

Since Roark becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, he could be viewed as a cheaper alternative to the hurlers with extra years of control on their respective deals. 

In his last seven starts, Roark has conceded two runs or fewer on four occasions. Roark's minute number of walks is also intriguing to contenders, as he has issued five free passes in four July starts. 

The 32-year-old has the recent form that a team at or near the top of the standings would be interested in, but now it all comes down to how his market, and the interest in others at his position, develops in the next 24 hours. 

                 

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.

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