Trades between the Yankees and Mets have been rare during the crosstown rivals’ histories. The clubs have made just 15 deals since 1966, in fact, but we might see No. 16 this summer. With the starter-needy Yankees pushing for a World Series and the Mets looking like non-contenders, the New York franchises could come together on a trade for soon-to-be free-agent right-hander Zack Wheeler this month. The Yankees are already known to like Wheeler, and the Mets wouldn’t be averse to sending him to the Bronx, Andy Martino of SNY.tv says.
The Mets are more focused on getting the best offer for Wheeler than where they’d trade him. But the Yankees are sure to face plenty of competition for Wheeler if they do make an earnest attempt to pull him in before the July 31 deadline. Martino names Atlanta and Milwaukee as just a couple other teams with interest in the 29-year-old. The Brewers were “enamored” of Wheeler’s upside as recently as last offseason, per Marc Carig of The Athletic (subscription link).
The heat-throwing Wheeler put on a show for an array of scouts Tuesday when he handled, of all teams, the Yankees. Wheeler fanned eight over 6 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and a walk. He’s still running an uninspiring 4.42 ERA through 114 frames this season, up significantly from last year’s 3.31. It hasn’t helped that Wheeler has pitched in front of a dreadful defense, though, and the rest of his output is far more promising than his simple run prevention numbers. Wheeler has struck out 9.71 batters per nine while walking 2.53, giving him an outstanding 3.71 K/BB ratio. He’s also inducing grounders at a 45.3 percent clip and infield flies 14 percent of the time – the latter of which ranks 13th among qualified starters.
Adding to Wheeler’s appeal, he’s on a $5.975MM salary that every contender should be able to afford. It appears he’ll join Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner as one of the top two rental starters available in July, barring a miraculous Mets turnaround. The Mets have won two in a row, though they’re still just 39-47 and six games out in a jam-packed National League playoff race. Assuming New York elects to sell, dealing Wheeler would give the team a chance to replenish its lackluster farm system to at least some degree. The Mets just may be able to do that at the Yankees’ expense.