To state the obvious, this season hasn’t gone according to plan for the Mets. They’re the owners of a 34-36 record, staring at a 5 1/2-game deficit in their division and a five-game mark for the National League’s second wild card. First-time general manager Brodie Van Wagenen boldly suggested over the winter the Mets would take on all comers in 2019, but his roster has instead spun its wheels for a couple months.

Barring a turnaround leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, the Mets may have to consider selling off players they deem nonessential to their future – perhaps to boost an inadequate farm system. As things stand, the Mets aren’t giving up on buying, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network. If the team does a 180 on that mindset, though, it’ll have an intriguing trade chip in starter Zack Wheeler. The right-hander’s on many teams’ radars, including the crosstown rival Yankees’, according to Heyman.

The 29-year-old Wheeler’s in his final season of team control, in which he’s making a reasonable $5.975MM. The fact that he’s affordable enhances his trade value, though this hasn’t been a banner contract year in terms of results for Wheeler.