Royals “insist” they’ll pursue Carlos Beltran, appear willing to offer three-year deal

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The Yankees were mentioned as the favorites to sign Carlos Beltran earlier this week, but the Royals haven’t given up hopes of reuniting.

According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, the Royals “insist” that they will pursue Beltran and appear willing to meet his preference of a three-year contract. This comes on the heels of CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman pegging the club as a “serious threat” last weekend.

“We’d love to have him in,” one Royals official said. “One thing about Carlos Beltran is he’s a money player. He’s an RBI guy. He produces.”

As these things usually go, it will all come down to money. With that in mind, the Royals would likely have to shed payroll in order to make room for Beltran. Dutton speculates that Billy Butler could be at the top of the list of available players, along with some of their high-priced relievers. Still, with the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, Rangers, Orioles and Mariners all in the mix for Beltran, the bidding could climb higher than the Royals are willing to go.

Beltran, who turns 37 in April, batted .296/.339/.491 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI over 145 games this past season. He spent the first seven years of his career in Kansas City, so if he can return to his roots and remain healthy and productive into his late-30s, it would pretty much clinch him going into the Hall of Fame in a Royals cap.

The Braves cave, a little anyway, on their outside food policy

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On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.

The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.

Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:

While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.

Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.

Donald Trump may throw out the first pitch at the Nationals opener

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It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.