The New York Yankees are expected to acquire a starting pitcher at some point before the July 31 trade deadline. The team has been linked to several potential options, though the field of realistic candidates could be getting smaller.

Detroit Tigers’ ace Matthew Boyd and New York Mets’ right-hander Zack Wheeler have found themselves at the center of trade rumors for weeks. Neither player has been dealt, and there is reason to believe that won’t change within the next few weeks.

Boyd is reportedly available, though Detroit’s asking price might ultimately be too high for New York. An MLB executive told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal that he doesn’t believe the Tigers will trade the 28-year-old because of the way they’ve recently dealt with their pitchers.

One year ago, there was speculation that the Yankees might pursue Tigers’ starter Michael Fulmer. New York never came close to landing the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year, who likely would’ve cost the Yankees a slew of prospects because of his age and contract. Fulmer turned 26 years old in April and still has three years left of arbitration before hitting free agency after the 2022 season.

Boyd is also under team-control through 2022. He ranks seventh among AL pitchers with a 2.8 WAR and fifth with 152 strikeouts. Detroit probably won’t trade him unless New York blows them away with an offer.

Don’t expect the Yankees to make a blockbuster trade in which they part with several top prospects. They are more likely to acquire a pitcher like Marcus Stroman or Trevor Bauer, both of whom are signed through next season but won’t require nearly as much of a haul as the Tigers would need to give up Boyd.

The Tigers have the second-worst record in MLB.

It’s possible that the Yankees will trade for a one-year rental. New York acquired J.A. Happ before last year’s trade deadline when the veteran was in the final season of his contract. Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler are the two free-agents-to-be that have been most prominently linked to the Yankees.

Reports have indicated that New York might be more interested in Wheeler than Bumgarner. That might not be the case anymore, given the latest news concerning the Mets’ starter. 

Wheeler was placed on the 10-day injured list Monday with right shoulder fatigue. He’ll be eligible to pitch again on July 22.

That gives Wheeler just a couple more starts, at most, to prove that his poor first-half numbers were an aberration. The 29-year-old pitched to a 4.69 ERA before the All-Star break, putting him 39th among 42 eligible pitchers.

Maybe the Yankees will still acquire Wheeler because they wouldn’t have to trade a top prospect. That means the Mets would have to risk watching one of their pitchers help their cross-town rivals win a championship without getting much in return. 

It’s been 15 years since the Yankees and Mets made a trade with each other that involved an established major leaguer. 

The Mets are 15 games out of first place in the NL East. Nine teams stand between the Mets and the second NL wild-card spot.