Nationals Chatter: Harper bulks up, Stammen goes back to school

Most people kick off the New Year vowing to lose weight. Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper wants to gain weight. Don't panic, it's purely muscle. But Harper sparked national debate among media outlets over his desirable target weight.

Last Friday, ESPN ran a story with a quote from Harper saying he wanted to get "as big as a house." As Dan Kolko explained on Saturday, Harper will enter spring training around 245 pounds to make up for the weight loss that occurs during the grind of the regular season.

harpergym.jpgOthers in the national media are choosing to panic. Darryl Hamilton of MLB Network said the following Monday night on a segment called "National Concern": "He's got everything going for him, but I don't want to see him at 245 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal."

What does this mean? It's simple: Don't panic. I don't think Nationals fans have anything to worry about. Harper provided the picture of himself to the left via his Twitter account just in case you were panicking.

What else are people saying about the Nationals?

* Reliever Craig Stammen has made the decision to go back to school and finish his degree in entrepreneurship at the University of Dayton. James Wagner of The Washington Post spoke with Stammen, who plans to juggle college classes and pitching through May.

* General manager Mike Rizzo thinks Frank Thomas will be announced as a first-ballot Hall of Famer this afternoon. I know Thomas never played in the Nationals organization, but he was the player whom Rizzo signed to his first professional contract. It was also the first time Rizzo negotiated with a player's agent. On a more personal note from myself, Thomas was promoted to the major leagues the day I was born, Aug. 2, 1990.

That's a wrap of what is being said about the Nationals. Be sure to check MASNsports.com every week for more.

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