Will the Reds have room for Alonso and Votto?

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Yonder Alonso was the seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft and has since emerged as Cincinnati’s best prospect by hitting .293/.378/.459 in the minors, but now that he’s nearing the majors the Reds are starting to wonder where they’ll eventually play him.
Alonso has been exclusively a first baseman in the minors, but the Reds already have 26-year-old Joey Votto there and he just hit .312 with 25 homers and a .981 OPS last season. They could move Votto to left field, where he saw some sporadic action in the minors, but his glove figures to be mediocre at best out there compared to very good at first base.
“Joey is going to be at first base for a long time,” general manager Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. “I don’t see moving Joey.” Instead the Reds are toying with the idea of having Alonso switch positions, giving him reps in left field and right field in addition to third base and even catcher.
“I’m doing everything and they’re trying everything so I can go up there,” Alonso said. “It doesn’t matter where I play as long as I play.” He definitely has the right attitude, but probably doesn’t have the necessarily skills to make it a reality, as Baseball America‘s latest scouting report says Alonso’s “limited range would be a liability” away from first base.
It doesn’t make much sense for the Reds to move their best player away from a position he thrives at and so far at least Alonso’s production at the plate hasn’t stood out nearly enough to warrant making him a defensive liability at a new position in order to get his bat into the lineup. All of which seemingly adds up to a trade, but with Alonso likely ticketed for Double-A and Triple-A this year the Reds have a bit more time to sort things out.

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.