Why can't Matt Murton find a job?

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Yesterday the Rockies became the third team in two years to give up on outfielder Matt Murton, designating him for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for washed-up reliever Juan Rincon and his 5.45 ERA over the past three seasons.
Murton turns 28 years old in a couple months, but has gotten more than 275 plate appearances in a season exactly once, back in 2006 with the Cubs. He hit .297 with a .365 on-base percentage and .444 slugging percentage that year, yet in the three seasons since then he’s received a grand total of 383 plate appearances for three different teams.
Given all the bouncing around that he’s done recently you might assume that Murton is pretty useless, but that’s hardly the case. He’s a career .287/.353/.438 hitter in 339 games as a major leaguer, has hit .312/.388/.469 in 220 games at Triple-A, and grades out as an asset defensively in either outfield corner according to Ultimate Zone Rating.
He’s certainly never going to be a star or perhaps even a strong everyday player, but Murton is better and more useful than dozens of guys who’ve had permanent homes on MLB rosters for the past few seasons and would make an excellent platoon starter against left-handed pitching if given an extended opportunity.
Against southpaws he’s batted .306/.374/.483 in 390 plate appearances in the majors and .335/.410/.536 in 400 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, which alone makes him worthy of a roster spot. Toss in the fact that he’s still relatively young, very cheap, and available for absolutely nothing, and … well, it’ll be a shame if Murton clears waivers and heads back to Triple-A again.

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.