Now that the All-Star Game has come and gone, the 2019 MLB trade deadline is the next important date on the baseball schedule. With time running out for teams to decide whether they will be buyers or sellers, some notable players could be dealt sooner rather than later.

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have been at the forefront of the latest trade rumors, looking to improve their starting rotations in the race for the AL East crown. The third contender in the division could also make a push to acquire major-league talent before July 31.

ESPN’s Buster Olney said on Thursday’s “Baseball Tonight” podcast that the Tampa Bay Rays are expected to be very active in the trade market. 

Tampa Bay is 2.5 games ahead of Boston in the standings and 6.5 games behind the first-place Yankees. The Rays lead the AL Wild-Card race with a half-game lead over the Cleveland Indians. The Oakland Athletics are two games behind Tampa Bay as the third team in the wild-card race.

The Rays are contenders because of MLB’s best pitching staff, leading the sport with a 3.32 ERA. Tampa’s starters lead baseball with a 3.01 ERA and the team’s relievers rank second with a 3.62 ERA.

Eight AL teams have scored more runs than the Rays, who might need to trade for a hitter in order to ultimately reach the postseason. Most of the top trade candidates are pitchers. Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has been speculated as a position player that could potentially be moved before the trade deadline.

The New York Mets have a few of those pitchers that have been in recent trade rumors. Sitting 10 games below .500, 13.5 games out of first place in the NL East and behind nine teams for the second wild-card spot, the Mets are expected to become sellers shortly.

Olney reported that New York has indicated to teams they are ready to talk about dealing Zack Wheeler. SNY has reported that both the Yankees and Red Sox have held discussions with the Mets about the right-hander.

Wheeler is likely to be moved since he’s in the final year of his contract. He had a spectacular 1.68 ERA in the second half of last season but has since come back to earth with a 4.69 ERA in the 2019 season.

Noah Syndergaard is drawing interest from other clubs, as well. According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the San Diego Padres have inquired about Syndergaard’s availability.

Syndergaard probably isn’t going anywhere this summer and is more likely to be dealt in the offseason. His value might not be very high, given his 4.68 ERA before the All-Star break.

The Mets could potentially trade other veterans to contending teams within the next 20 days.

Zack Wheeler Mets Yankees Zack Wheeler #45 of the New York Mets pitches against the New York Yankees during their game at Yankee Stadium on May 13, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images