By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor
While the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen has posted a MLB-best 2.63 ERA in the month of July, their rotation has posted a 4.00 ERA, the fifth-worst among the 10 current postseason-qualifying teams.
Despite general manager Matt Klentak being on the record of saying the Phillies are "very encouraged" about their current rotation, and are "hopeful" to "stay out of the starting pitcher trade market." It appears the Phillies brass is having second thoughts, however, as since last Monday's home series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the club's starters have a sixth-worst 5.91 ERA.
According to Fancred's Jon Heyman, the Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Yankees have "shown the most interest" in New York Mets RHP Zack Wheeler. No team, however, has met the Mets' asking price for the four-year veteran, who "may well stay in Queens."
Read: American League Scout: Expect Phillies to 'Kick Tires' on Starting Pitchers
Wheeler, 28, was drafted sixth overall by the San Francisco Giants in the 2009 amateur draft, and was dealt two years later to the Mets in exchange for All-Star and Gold Glove Award-winning outfielder Carlos Beltran.
The Smyrna, Georgia, native missed all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to Tommy John surgery and subsequent setbacks. In 86 career starts since debuting June 2013, Wheeler is 26-29 with a 3.95 ERA, 468-207 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.370 WHIP spanning 492 innings.
The Phillies have already made one trade this month with the Mets, acquiring infielder Asdrubal Cabrera for 10th-ranked prospect RHP Franklyn Kilome. It would surely be strange to see the Phillies pull off a second trade with their division rivals.