The Bartolo Colon trade market is not yet scorching, but it is far too early to say that it won’t get there. When you zoom out and look around the league, you realize that teams waiting on David Price, Cliff Lee, and Ian Kennedy could easily turn to Colon on July 30 or 31.

In fact, if the Mets move Colon before the deadline, that is how it will probably go down, according to several executives briefed on the process: Right near the end, after teams know what is happening with the other three starters.

We are also told, via sources, that the Mets are willing to eat approximately $2 million what remains on Colon’s two-year, $20 million contract ($11 million next season). And given Colon’s current level of performance, it is not crazy to think he could find a one-year, $9 million deal this winter, if he were a free agent. Yeah, he’s 41, but he ain’t pitching like it.

The market for high-end starting pitching is stalled for several reasons. Tampa Bay, in the midst of revival, is trying to decide if it will trade Price. San Diego is sending strong signals that it is unlikely to move Kennedy, according to teams in contact with the Padres. And Lee just returned from two months off with an elbow injury, and is owed oodles of money.

It is plausible to imagine a scenario where July 31 hits, and Price, Lee and Kennedy all remain with their current clubs. At that point, rival executives predict, Colon would be the most desirable option -- or alternately, after Price is dealt, the Mets would be positioned to have a solid plan B for teams.

Either way, don’t expect much action until close to the deadline.From the Mets’ standpoint, it has been clear for weeks that they would like to move Colon, but are not desperate to do so. We’ve watched Sandy Alderson operate for several years now, and he doesn’t really do desperate; he holds out for what he wants, or he keeps the player.