Marlins not expected to significantly increase payroll

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“We’re getting ready for another season, and we’re going to win more,” Marlins president David Samson assured Christina De Nicola of FOX Sports Florida late last week. “I promise you this: We’re not going to lose 100 games next year. Not even close.”

But that doesn’t mean that Marlins fans should be expecting a wheeling-and-dealing type of offseason.

From beat reporter Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:

The basic plan in ’14 is to build from around the nucleus of players who endured more than their share of growing pains in a trying 2013.

Miami’s payroll parameters project to mirror the ’13 numbers — about $38 million.

In free agency, the Marlins aren’t expected to be in the market for high-priced players.

Miami tried hard last month for Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, but the 26-year-old first baseman wound up scoring a record six-year, $68 million free agent contract from the White Sox. Whatever money Marlins ownership used in that Abreu pursuit will apparently be shifted toward bargain-bin free agent options.

The Marlins do have an impressive core of young players between staff ace Jose Fernandez, power-hitting right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and five-tool center fielder Christian Yelich. But Stanton is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter and will continue to get more and more expensive.

Samson and Co. claim the Marlins have a plan. But it’s hard to see it right now.

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.