Nationals, Bryce Harper narrowly avoid grievence hearing

Being that I recently wrote a post that covered this issue I figured I would follow up. According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, USA TODAY’s Brad Nightengale first reported that the Nationals and Bryce Harper have avoided a grievence hearing that was scheduled for Tuesday. The two parties have agreed to a two-year extension for Harper worth $7.5 million.

As the tweet says, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman was the first to report the conditions of the extension. Harper will make $2.5 million in 2015 and $5 million in 2016.

According to MLB Trade Rumors if Harper had entered arbitration now he’d be granted a $1 million raise to $2.5 million. From there, his salaries would only climb higher during his next three years of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent after the 2018 season.

So the Nationals’ gave Harper what his play dicatates he would deserve for 2015 and twice that in 2016, meaning they likely will not have to negotiate with him after next season.

This is probably the smart way to go for the Nationals, although I’m doubtful it rectifies the animosity between Harper and the team.

As previously noted Harper has been benched by 2014 Manager of the Year Matt Williams for his behavioral issues. In my opinion he sometimes acts like a spoiled child.

Bleacher Reports Zachary Rymer writes,

“Harper didn’t need Rizzo’s help to come off in a negative light by skipping NatsFest. The idea was presumably to avoid questions about the issue while also showing the Nationals he means business. But instead, he foolishly put himself in a position to come off as a pouty child with a grudge. That’s not a good look on any player, but it’s an especially bad look on Harper.”

Why is it especially a bad look on Harper? Well, back in June Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post wrote about Harper’s teammates wishing he would,

“tone down his flamboyant act and fit more smoothly with a vet clubhouse,”

His disappearance act at Nats Fest for “circumstance beyong his control” when actually the circumstances were well within his control will probably resonate in the minds of his teammates.

We already know it hit home with the organization due to the, very warranted, public comments of general manager Mike Rizzo.

I’m not denying the fact that he was the 2012 National League Rookie of the Year. Nor am I denying the fact that he is a two-time All-Star and that when you consider salaries around the league he probably does deserve more than $1.5 million in 2015.

Bryce Harper. Getty Images.
Bryce Harper. Getty Images.

Should the Nationals have held their ground that he did not have an opt-out written into his contract? Yes. Did Harper technically qualify as a “Super Two” player? He sure did. It’s complicated and both sides have their points.

It’s just that Harper’s stunt, not showing up to NatsFest, warranted a bit more reponse than a few words by GM Mike Rizzo and an immediate resolution to the problem (the contract).

It was the smart decision on the Nationals part if they have a plan similar to one that was just suggested in a comment on my previous post about Harper, to trade him before he becomes a free agent.

I know some Nationals fans think of him as a franchise player which is just fine, but guys who are usually seen as the face of their franchise are NOT the guys who skip their team’s Fan Fest for their own self-serving reasons. Just saying ….

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