Bryce Harper: “I have to step up a little bit.”

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Bryce Harper didn’t exactly put up bad numbers last season, but they weren’t indicative of his talent. He also missed 57 games on the disabled list after tearing the UCL in his left hand while sliding into third base. He finished with a .273/.344/.423 slash line with 13 home runs and 32 RBI in 395 plate appearances.

Harper thinks he has to do more to contribute to the Nationals’ offense in 2015. Via MLB.com’s Bill Ladson:

“I’ll help out for sure,” Harper said. “After losing LaRoche, I have to step up a little bit. I have to do what I need to do. Our pitching is going to take us to the top, hopefully, but we still have to have offense. We have to do the things we need to do. I’m ready to go. I’ll be feeling good.”

The Nationals’ calling card is certainly their pitching, but their offense is nothing to sneeze at, either. Last season, infielder Danny Espinosa and catcher Wilson Ramos were the only two of nine players to take at least 240 trips to the plate and post a below-average adjusted OPS (OPS+; below 100). Harper’s OPS+ was 111, bested by Denard Span, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth, and Anthony Rendon.

Rumor: MLB execs discussing 100-game season that would begin July 1

David Price and Mookie Betts
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.

In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.

Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.

Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.