But if the Mets want a bigger return, they could dangle players with one more season of team control, such as infielder Wilmer Flores, who homered on Tuesday, or pitcher Zack Wheeler.
Healthier and more composed than in the past, Wheeler helped his stock on Tuesday with another strong outing. He allowed two runs over six and one-third innings, lowering his season earned run average to 4.36. Since the start of June, he has a 3.20 E.R.A. over seven starts. And yet he has not earned a win since April 29 because of the Mets’ feeble offense and faulty bullpen.
The latter was largely to blame as the Mets lost a 6-1 lead in the seventh inning, when relief pitchers Anthony Swarzak and Robert Gsellman unraveled, and right fielder Jose Bautista, in his return to Toronto after 10 years as a Blue Jay, committed a two-base fielding error. Gsellman coughed up the game-tying three-run home run to Yangervis Solarte.
“He deserved a better fate than he got,” Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said of Wheeler.
Callaway was able to announce a small bit of encouraging news for the Mets earlier in the day. Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes finally began his running program on Monday after a month of rehabilitating his sore right hip and quadriceps. He first landed on the disabled list on May 16 with the injury but had a setback on June 9, just before he was set to return.
Callaway also said that Jason Vargas, another struggling off-season acquisition, and Noah Syndergaard, one of team’s best pitchers, each pitched in simulated games on Tuesday at the team’s spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
There is perhaps less urgency for the return of Vargas, who has been out only since June 24 with a strained right calf. But there is plenty of interest in Syndergaard, who has been out since May 26 with a straight ligament in the index finger of his throwing hand, an injury that was not originally expected to sideline him this long. His next step might be a minor league rehabilitation start.
Syndergaard’s name has also surfaced in trade rumors, since he is under team control through the 2021 season and he could command the large sort of return that would inject the Mets roster with young and athletic talent. But like much with the Mets these days, a lot of uncertainty remains over the next few weeks.