- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

Outfielder Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals came to terms on a $7.5 million, two-year contract, avoiding a grievance hearing that was scheduled to take place later this week.

Harper will earn salaries of $2.5 million in 2015, and $5 million in 2016 from the reigning National League East champions, according to a person familiar with the agreement.

Harper, the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year, had been scheduled to earn a $1 million salary in 2015, along with the chance to earn up to $500,000 in roster bonuses. But the Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf over whether he could void the final season of the $9.9 million, five-year contract he signed when he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2010.

An arbitrator would have heard the grievance this week, but that’s no longer needed.

On Saturday, Harper skipped NatsFest, the Nationals’ annual fan festival, which did not sit well with general manager Mike Rizzo.

“We’re disappointed he’s not here,” Rizzo said, “but he chose not to be here because of the grievance.”

Harper’s representatives released a statement attributed to him that, in part, said he was “unable to attend this year’s event due to matters out of my control.”

Harper, who turned 22 in October, is coming off an injury-interrupted season in which he batted .273 with 13 home runs and 32 RBI. But he thrived in Washington’s National League Division Series loss to the San Francisco Giants, when he hit .368 with three home runs and four RBI in that four-game series.

Mostly a left fielder or center fielder so far in the majors, Harper is going to move to right field next season, with Jayson Werth switching from that spot to left.

“I like Harper’s arm. It’s really strong,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said Saturday when asked why the players are swapping positions. “The demands of going to right-center and making that throw are difficult.”

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