Jon Lester is willing to return to the Red Sox as a free agent even if they trade him

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Jon Lester has made no secret of his desire to remain with the Red Sox for the long-term. However, with Boston sitting in last place in the American League East, there’s always the possibility that the club could trade the impending free agent for prospects before next Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline. Lester understands that and told Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com after last night’s game that a trade wouldn’t preclude him from returning to the club during the offseason.

“I’ve been through it a couple times at a younger age,” said Lester of the specter of a trade. “If that’s where they want to go with it, that’s fine. No hard feelings. Hopefully, come November I’ll be right here and won’t have to worry about it.”

“Yeah, why not?” he said. “I mean, (Boston) is what I know, this is what I love. Like I’ve said plenty of times, this is where I want to be. And if they trade me I completely understand. No hard feelings. I know what they have to do for their organization and if that involves me, so be it. If it doesn’t I’ll keep running out there every five days and pitching.”

You don’t see this kind of scenario often, but it has happened. Mike Bordick, who was traded from the Orioles to the Mets in 2000 only to re-sign with Baltimore in the winter, immediately springs to mind. At least for this Mets fan.

Lester and the Red Sox have discussed a contract extension at various points this year, but progress has been hard to come by and the veteran southpaw recently tabled talks until after the season. The 30-year-old reportedly rejected a $70 million extension during spring training, which looked like a lowball offer at the time and even more so now that he has posted a 2.52 ERA over 21 starts. He’s likely looking at a deal well north of $100 million on the open market.

You can watch Lester’s comments in full below:

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.