Reds’ NL-best bullpen adds Jonathan Broxton from Royals

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You wouldn’t think the Reds would need more bullpen help, what with Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall leading a relief corps that has the best ERA in baseball, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Cincinnati has acquired Jonathan Broxton from Kansas City for minor leaguers Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran.

Broxton signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Royals this offseason and took over as closer following Joakim Soria’s elbow injury. He’s saved 23 games with a 2.27 ERA, although his 25/14 K/BB ratio in 36 innings is sub par and well below the dominant numbers he once posted for the Dodgers.

Broxton gives the Reds a hard-throwing, late-inning bullpen option from the right side to go along with Chapman and Marshall from the left side. And the Reds now have seven relievers on the roster who’ve thrown at least 35 innings with a sub-3.50 ERA.

Joseph was the Reds’ third-round pick in 2009 and the 24-year-old left-hander has racked up 279 strikeouts in 208 innings as a minor leaguer to go along with a 3.50 ERA, reaching Triple-A this season. Sulbaran was their 30th rounder in 2008 and the left-hander has posted good strikeout rates with sketchy control as a starter, spending this season at Double-A as a 22-year-old. Neither is a top-ranked prospect, but the Royals did well to get them for a two-month bullpen rental.

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.