Blue Jays GM on signing Vladimir Guerrero: “I have no idea how he’s going to perform”

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After failing to find a big-league job Vladimir Guerrero agreed to a minor-league contract with Toronto yesterday, but the Blue Jays’ plans for the 37-year-old former MVP are unclear.

In fact, general manager Alex Anthopoulos basically told reporters that Guerrero isn’t even in their plans:

This isn’t someone right now that we’re prepared to say is going to be up in Toronto. I have no idea how he’s going to perform. There’s no point in even spending time on that because I don’t even know what we have. I have no idea how Vlad looks. I have no idea what kind of shape he’s in, other than from what I’ve heard.

It’s as if he’s starting spring training. It’s a minor-league contract with no risk and no downside. At a minimum it provides depth. Certainly there’s the upside that he could play very well and be a factor for us.

In other words, Adam Lind can wait a little while longer before looking over his shoulder for Guerrero, who signed a non-guaranteed contract worth a prorated share of $1.3 million if/when he reaches the majors.

At first glance his .290 batting average last season suggests Guerrero remains a productive hitter, but he managed just 13 homers and 17 walks in 145 games for career-lows in on-base percentage (.317), slugging percentage (.416), and OPS (.733). He also can’t play the outfield regularly at this point and hasn’t faced big-league pitching since last September, so Anthopoulos is right to downplay Guerrero’s likely impact.

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.