Don’t taunt Bryce Harper

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Bryce Harper is still a work in progress. He should spend the whole season in the minors and likely will barring some gimmick callup at the end of the year to goose attendance.  But even if he needs to work on messing with ungodly major league offspeed stuff, he already knows how to quiet the haters:

With Harper at the plate, one fan in the stands yelled, “Overrated, overrated.” On the next pitch from reliever Jorge De Leon, Harper doubled near the right-field line, scoring Matt Stairs and Alex Cora.

Harper acknowledged that he heard the heckling from the fan.

Not that this sort of behavior is limited to phenoms like Harper.  When I was in Phoenix last week watching the A’s vs. the Indians, Chad Huffman came to bat for the Tribe.  One of the many mouthy A’s fans sitting near the press box yelled “Who the hell is that? You’ll be in Columbus all year, Chaddy!”  Huffman then proceeded to hit a double off the wall.

I love it when that stuff happens.

Rangers will not exercise Mike Napoli’s 2018 option

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The Rangers have informed 1B/DH Mike Napoli the club will not exercise his 2018 option, worth $11 million, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Instead, the Rangers will pay Napoli $2.5 million to buy him out of his contract, making him a free agent.

Napoli, 35, hit a disappointing .193/.285/.428 with 29 home runs and 66 RBI in 485 plate appearances this past season. Given his age and declining production, it’s not shocking that the Rangers want to look elsewhere.

Napoli turns 36 at the end of the month. Given his age and worsening peripheral stats, he will likely have to settle for a one-year deal this offseason.