The McGwire inquisition drags on

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Mark McGwire was criticized for years for not saying anything about his steroid use. Now that he’s talking about it to anyone who asks him, Bill Madden of the Daily News slams him for not doing a one-and-done presser like A-Rod and Pettitte did. Oy:

Perhaps, but as far as rehabilitating his image, mere apologies from
McGwire will not suffice – not as long as he continues to maintain that
all the extra power he displayed after ’94 was merely the result of an
altered batting swing and not the steroids. Andy Pettitte in 2008 and Alex Rodriguez last year sat for over an hour, taking their medicine, in the Yankee
pavilion confessional and, for the most part, came out of it for the
better. If nothing else, they’ve been mostly left alone about their
steroid sins from that day forward.

Yeah, remember how Pettitte talked about how that HGH he took gave him all of those extra strikeouts instead of falling back on that tired old “they just helped me stay healthy” lie.  And remember how A-Rod whipped out that chalkboard and drew up that formula which established that he would only have had 437 home runs instead of the 553 he had before last season.  That, my friends, was the kind of candor to which McGwire should aspire.

Madden is a Spink Award winner. I would expect him to be better than this.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.