UPDATE: Rangers “getting closer” to deal for Cubs’ Matt Garza

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Matt Garza has been on an impressive roll of late, winning five straight starts while posting a 1.24 ERA and 38/10 K/BB ratio over his last six. While we still have a little under two weeks to go before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Cubs want to strike while the iron is hot.

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports also hear that the Rangers are involved in talks for Garza. In fact, Rosenthal and Morosi are reporting that the Rangers are “most motivated” of any of the teams in the mix. The Dodgers, Red Sox, Cardinals, Indians, and Diamondbacks are among the other clubs who have expressed interest.

Garza is currently slated to make his next start on Monday against the Diamondbacks, so if Olney’s source is to be believed, we could see a resolution within the next couple of days.

UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears from one official involved in talks between the Cubs and Rangers that a deal is getting closer. Prospects from various levels are being discussed and Rosenthal writes that Mike Olt is “possibly” involved.

UPDATE II: Rosenthal hears from sources that prospect right-hander C.J. Edwards is also in play in talks for Garza. The 21-year-old has a 1.83 ERA and 122/34 K/BB ratio over 93 1/3 innings in 18 starts this season with Class A Hickory.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.