This isn’t the first time the Rays have been connected to Wheeler, though Snell wasn’t on the IL when Wheeler was initially said to be on the club’s radar. Snell underwent arthroscopic elbow surgery last week, which should shelve him for close to a month. His absence leaves a Rays team already low on traditional starters with Charlie Morton, Yonny Chirinos and the soon-to-be recalled Brendan McKay as its top options.
Despite their lack of conventional starters, the Rays are in possession of a 61-48 record and just a half-game behind a wild-card spot. Acquiring Wheeler may give the Rays the over-the-top push they’re seeking, though the Mets aren’t a sure thing to trade the 29-year-old soon-to-be free agent. They’ve climbed to within five games of a playoff spot thanks to a recent hot streak, and keeping Wheeler along with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz would give them one of the best rotations in baseball on paper. Wheeler has provided New York 124 innings of 4.71 ERA/3.65 FIP pitching with 9.92 K/9 and 2.46 BB/9 this year.