Maybe the Mets should just release Mike Pelfrey

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Mike Pelfrey gave up eight runs to the Astros (of all teams) on Sunday, taking his spring ERA to 14.90.  In the best of his three starts, he allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings and struck out none versus the Cardinals. Overall, he’s allowed 16 runs, 20 hits and six walks while striking out four in 9 2/3 innings.

Granted, it’s just 9 2/3 innings. But Pelfrey also had a 4.74 ERA last year that included a career-high home run rate and a career-low strikeout rate. He’s now pitched 4 1/2 seasons in the bigs with a 4.40 ERA, and instead of getting better, he appears to be getting worse.

So, maybe the Mets, who are pretty desperate for cash anyway, should just go ahead and cut him. In so doing, they’d recoup three-quarters of his $5.6875 million salary. They lack any great options to replace him, but both Jeremy Hefner and Chris Schwinden have performed well this spring and they might want to look at both before top prospects Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia start beating down the door.

I don’t really expect the Mets to take that step. Only the cash-strapped Wilpons have anything to gain by it, and if they did release one of their more expensive players, they’d be even greater laughing stocks around the league. I don’t expect much from Pelfrey this season, but he’ll probably be a reasonable fourth starter and there’s always the chance he’ll have a season more like his 2010, which would make him pretty valuable trade bait come June or July. But I think that’s a long shot. They probably wouldn’t lose much if they decided to move on.

Mets place Zack Wheeler on the 10-day disabled list

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The Mets announced on Monday that starter Zack Wheeler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a stress reaction in his right arm. Pitcher Tyler Pill has been recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.

Wheeler, 27, has a 5.21 ERA with an 81/40 K/BB ratio in 86 1/3 innings this season. He joins a long list of injured Mets, including rotation mates Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Tommy Milone, and Robert Gsellman. It’s not clear at the moment how long Wheeler will be out.

Pill, 27, has spent most of his season with Las Vegas, with which he has a 3.47 ERA over 13 starts. He has made three starts and two relief appearances in the majors this season as well.

Report: Royals acquire Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter, Trevor Cahill from Padres

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Royals are acquiring pitchers Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter, and Trevor Cahill from the Padres in exchange for Matt Strahm, Travis Wood, and Esteury Ruiz. Jon Heyman has confirmed the deal.

Maurer, 27, has saved 20 games for the Padres this year despite a 5.72 ERA. He carries with him a 38/8 K/BB ratio in 39 1/3 innings. The right-hander is arbitration-eligible going into the next two seasons and can become a free agent after the 2019 season.

Buchter, 30, owns a 3.05 ERA with a 47/18 K/BB ratio in 38 1/3 innings of relief work this season with the Padres. He’ll be under team control through 2021.

Cahill, 29, has posted a 3.69 ERA with a 72/24 K/BB ratio in 61 innings across 11 starts. He can become a free agent after the season.

Strahm, 25, put up a 5.45 ERA with a 37/22 K/BB ratio in 34 2/3 innings. He underwent season-ending knee surgery on July 7 and will miss the rest of the season.

Wood, 30, has a 6.91 ERA with a 29/20 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. Given his experience out of both the starting rotation and the bullpen, he can pitch in a swingman role. The lefty is under contract next year for $6.5 million. Wood has a mutual option for 2019 worth $8 million with a $1 million buyout.

Ruiz, 18, signed with the Royals as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in July 2015. This season, in rookie ball, he hit .419/.440/.779 in 91 plate appearances. Ruiz has played both second base and shortstop.