Bryce Harper: “Screw what people think”

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Been a weird year for Bryce Harper. He started out like gangbusters, putting up near-MVP numbers in the first part of the season, then he got injured playing insanely hard and might have played too long before being disabled. Since then he’s struggled at times, been accused of loafing and may not be completely healthy.

Now, possibly aware of the wear and length of the Major League grind, he’s somewhat defiant when asked about salvaging the weekend series against the Nats. From CSNWashington.com:

“I could care less what people think. Screw what people think. Everybody talks about us all year long saying we’re not going to make this or do that. I could care less what they think. It’s all what we think. I could really care less what the media thinks or anybody else. It’s nice to get that W tonight and like I said, I could care less what people think.”

Next up: “Bryce Harper is unaware of the difference between “could care less” and “couldn’t care less.”

But no matter what you think of him, remember that he’s hitting .278/.380/.516 with 19 homers at age 20, which is pretty damn insane for a guy his age, no matter how many ups and downs it’s seemed like he’s had this year.

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.