Bryce Harper No Shows NatsFest With Grievance Hearing Nigh
Seems there is a bit of tension between Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals in advance of his grievance hearing next week. The outfielder didn’t show up at NatsFest, via Nats Insider:
Mike Rizzo … was asked about Werth and Harper not being here today. Werth actually is here and will be participating in some functions, but he won’t be speaking to the media, a decision Rizzo said he made based on the outfielder’s pending appeal for a reckless driving charge. Harper, on the other hand, appears to have decided himself not to attend. Rizzo said he’s “disappointed” by that development, but acknowledged it’s due to Tuesday’s salary grievance hearing in New York. Earlier in the week, Rizzo was asked if he thought there was a chance the two sides could come to an agreement and avoid the hearing, and he suggested there was some hope of that. Today, I asked him the same question, and he gave a “no comment” response. Reading between the lines, sounds like Tuesday’s hearing is all but certain to take place.
What is this grievance hearing about? Hardball Talk explains:
For those unfamiliar with the situation, here’s a quick recap: After Harper was drafted in 2010, he reached an oral agreement on a five-year major league contract with the Nationals just minutes before the signing deadline. The Nationals were adamant that the contract wouldn’t include an opt-out if Harper qualified for arbitration during the deal, but Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, was under the impression that the opt-out would be included in the contract. When Boras eventually received the formal contract from the Nationals, the opt-out was not included in the deal and Harper refused to sign it. The MLBPA soon stepped in with a compromise, stating that if Harper qualified for arbitration during the deal, there would be a grievance hearing regarding the opt-out clause.
In other words, the Nats are building some ill feelings with their young star over a couple/few million dollars in arbitration money.