In a statement emailed by one of his agent’s employees, Harper said: “I have attended NatsFest each year and always enjoy my experience with the fans, but was unable to attend this year’s event due to matters out of my control. I look forward to next year’s NatsFest.”
The Major League Baseball Players Association has filed a grievance on Harper’s behalf over whether he should be able to void the 2015 terms in the final season of a $9.9 million, five-year contract he signed when drafted. An arbitrator hearing could happen on Tuesday if the case isn’t settled.
Teammate Jayson Werth did attend the event and met with fans but was made unavailable to media members. General manager Mike Rizzo took responsibility for shielding Werth from the media after he was convicted of reckless driving and sentenced to 10 days in jail.