Cubs reportedly close to acquiring Matt Garza

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The Chicago Cubs are close to making a deal to acquire starting pitcher Matt Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

The report, which did not mention what players the Rays might be seeking in such a deal, said that the Cubs became frontrunners to acquire Garza after the Texas Rangers signed free agent pitcher Brandon Webb and tossed a bunch of money at Adrian Beltre.

Garza, who was 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA over 204.2 innings last season, would solidify a Cubs rotation that already includes Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Silva. The 27-year-old has shown flashes of brilliance, throwing a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers last July 26, and a one-hitter in 2008.

But he hasn’t harnessed those talents on consistently as the Rays might have hoped, and is also due a nice raise in arbitration from the $3.35 million he made in 2010, making him a valuable trade commodity for cost-conscious Tampa Bay.

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Mark Melancon thinks Lewis Brinson “disrespected the game”

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The Marlins and Giants have some bad blood with each other. On Monday, closer Hunter Strickland had a meltdown, blowing a save after allowing three runs to the Marlins in the top of the ninth. Lewis Brinson drove in the tying run with a single. He could be seen flipping his bat and yelling something in excitement on his way to first base. Brinson ended up advancing to third before Strickland was pulled from the game. On his way out, Strickland started yapping at Brinson. In the clubhouse, Strickland punched a door in anger and broke his hand. The next day, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Brinson with a first-pitch fastball, which led to Dan Straily hitting Buster Posey.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, Giants reliever Mark Melancon went on KNBR’s Tolbert and Lund to talk about Brinson’s behavior. Here’s what he said:

My perspective was that he was disrespecting the game. I’m all for being excited and being happy you got a base hit there. There’s nothing wrong with that. But holding the bat out too long and flipping the bat, then rounding first and continuing to jaw. To me, it looked like he was looking right at Strickland. That’s just showing a guy up and it’s not needed. You know? Be happy, celebrate with the team. Do it right. But don’t rub it anybody’s face. That’s not the right way to go about it.

For what it’s worth, Strickland didn’t say much about the incident after Monday’s game. Via KNBR:

If players celebrating upsets the Giants so much that one of their players gets angry, punches a door, and breaks his hand, perhaps it’s unhealthy for them to focus on such behavior. Take a new philosophical approach so that your players don’t unnecessarily wind up on the disabled list for long chunks of time.

Brinson is 24 years old and hitting .180 in his first full major league season. Of course he’s going to be pumped up when he gets a big hit. Let the players have fun rather than policing their behavior. Maybe it’ll help bring fans back to the ballpark.