Bowden: Mike Napoli negotiating with Red Sox, meeting with Mariners

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I don’t trust Jim Bowden for rumors, but it’s not as though anyone else is making baseball news on Thanksgiving:

Again, Bowden is prone to sounding way too confident about any nugget that comes his way. Still, this hardly sounds outlandish. Napoli is a good fit for the Red Sox, and most thought they’d be in on him. The Mariners are also in the market for bats, and if they added Napoli, it’d give them an interesting three-headed DH-catcher platoon between he, Jesus Montero and John Jaso.  They could even play all three at the same time if first baseman Justin Smoak falls on his face again.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.