Harper, Nats reach 2-year deal, avoiding grievance

Harper, Nats reach 2-year deal, avoiding grievance

WASHINGTON -- Outfielder Bryce Harper and the Nationals have agreed to a two-year deal worth $7.5 million, a baseball source told MLB.com on Monday. The Nationals have not confirmed the deal, which was first reported by the Washington Post.

The deal resolves what had been a challenging situation for the club and player. Harper's agent, Scott Boras, believed Harper should have been arbitration-eligible this winter, while the Nats contended that Harper should not be eligible until after the 2015 season. The new pact increases Harper's salary over the $1.5 million he was set to earn via his previous contract, but avoids the parties going through the arbitration process for at least two more years.

Harper signed a five-year Major League contract worth $9.9 million, including a $6.25 million signing bonus, after he was drafted in 2010. At the time, the deal was a record for a position player signed out of the Draft.

According to the Washington Post, Harper's representatives contend that an oral agreement was reached that Harper could opt out of his contract and be eligible for arbitration. The Nationals denied that such a deal was agreed to.

If no agreement had been reached, Harper and the Nationals were scheduled to go to a grievance hearing on Tuesday to settle the matter.

Since entering the big leagues in May 2012, Harper has won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, appeared in two All-Star Games and has helped guide the Nats into the postseason twice.

With three 2014 postseason homers, Harper became just the fourth player to have four postseason homers before the age of 22.

This past season, Harper missed 62 games because of a thumb injury, but he was arguably Washington's best player during the NL Division Series, hitting .294 with three home runs.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.