A-Rod denies the poker game report, story’s source says A-Rod wasn’t at the game

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Another reason why Major League Baseball isn’t going to do anything about the A-Rod poker game report?  There’s no way they can prove anything.  For his part, A-Rod has denied it, saying that “the story contains numerous factual inaccuracies.”  What’s more, one of the story’s original sources says that Star Magazine got the story wrong and that A-Rod wasn’t even at the poker game in question.

And sure, A-Rod and this source may be lying. But Major League Baseball doesn’t have subpoena power. They can’t investigate this. And even if they had the power to punish Alex Rodriguez if this is were all true, they have no cause to act on such a disputed account. And they won’t.

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.