Reds, Blue Jays and Rangers all in the mix for Matt Garza

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UPDATE: Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com hears that the Rangers are also have interest in Garza.

11:36 PM: According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Cubs and Reds are talking about a possible Garza deal. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jayson Stark was told by an executive that there’s now a “very high chance” that Garza is dealt before Tuesday’s deadline. The Blue Jays are said to be charging hard.

10:16 PM: The assumption has been that Matt Garza will remain with the Cubs through tomorrow’s trade deadline, as he was recently skipped in the rotation due to cramping in his right triceps. However, ESPN’s Jayson Stark is hearing otherwise.

According to Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com, Garza threw a bullpen session today for the first time since the injury. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said it went “extremely well,” but it’s not clear when he’ll make his next start. Some teams may want to see him pitch again before making an offer, so unless the Cubs are blown away at the last minute, they might be better served to make a deal in the offseason.

Garza, 28, has a 3.91 ERA and 96/32 K/BB ratio in 103 2/3 innings across 18 starts this season. He’s due a raise from his $9.5 million salary this offseason in his final go-around in arbitration.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.