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Reports: Yankees Have Eyes On Indians' Bauer, Mets' Wheeler As Trade Deadline Approaches

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Are there any starting pitchers out there the Yankees aren't linked to?

With their interest in upgrading their rotation no secret, the Bombers have been mentioned in reports regarding numerous arms that could be available prior to the July 31 trade deadline.

Add the Indians' Trevor Bauer and the Mets' Zack Wheeler to the ever-growing list.

According to several reports, Tim Naehring, the Yankees' top evaluator, was on hand to witness Bauer's seven-inning, one-run performance against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. That has fueled speculation that New York has Cleveland's durable right-hander high on its wish list as it looks to add to a starting staff that hasn't been as consistent as the team's AL-best 57-31 record would indicate.

The issue seems to be whether or not the Indians will put Bauer on the block. They have cut into the Minnesota Twins' once-seemingly insurmountable lead atop the AL Central and look poised to make a run at at least a wild card during second half. Of course, Cleveland's chances of reaching the postseason could improve if starters Carlos Carrasco (leukemia) and Corey Kluber (broken forearm) return.

Trevor Bauer
Trevor Bauer of the Cleveland Indians pitches in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 7, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The hangup with Bauer appears to be his impending free agency following the 2020 season. The Indians could have some serious payroll decisions to make and its possible they end up feeling more inclined to deal Bauer by this deadline than risk him not having the same value at the deadline next season.

If Bauer is moved, the team that gets him will be receiving one of the best pitchers in the AL. The 28-year-old is 8-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 20 starts and has not lost in over a month. He made at least 26 starts in each of the previous five seasons and has a record of 49-29 since the start of the 2016 season.

According to SNY, the Yankees and the Red Sox have checked in with the Mets on Wheeler's availability. Expected to test free agency after this season, the 29-year-old right-hander is just 6-6 with a bloated 4.69 ERA in 19 starts in 2019, but when on has shown top-of-the-rotation stuff. Wheeler impressed many by going 10-1 in his final 12 starts last season, but it remains to be seen if he can recapture similar form this season.

In recent weeks, the Yankees have been mentioned as possible suitors for several starting pitchers, including San Francisco Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner and Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman.

MOREExpected To Be Moved Prior To Trade Deadline, Blue Jays' Stroman Sounds Like He Wants To Pitch For Yankees

With the exception of Domingo German (10-2, 3.67 ERA), who has been a revelation in place of injured ace Luis Severino, who has yet to throw a pitch this season, but could return later this summer, the rest of the starting staff has been largely hit or miss.

Much-hyped offseason acquisition James Paxton has pitched well in spurts, but is only 5-4 with a 4.01 ERA. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who was surprisingly named to the All-Star Game in place of the injured Stroman, is just 5-5 with a 3.86 ERA. Veteran lefty J.A. Happ is second on the team with seven wins, but has a ghastly 5.02 ERA. CC Sabathia, who will retire at season's end, keeps plugging along with a 4.03 ERA in 14 starts, but is not a realistic option to start in the playoffs.

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