The New York Mets announced on Sunday that they were unable to come to an agreement with Vanderbilt RHP Kumar Rocker before the 5:00 pm et deadline.
Mets announce they have not agreed to terms with first-round draft pick RHP Kumar Rocker. As a result, the Mets will receive a supplemental selection in next year’s draft, following the 10th pick.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) August 1, 2021
The Mets selected Rocker with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Rocker fell a bit further than expected in the draft. Initially, the Mets landing Rocker with the No. 10 pick felt like a coup. It was widely celebrated by Mets fans and analysts.
So why weren’t the Mets able to sign the talented pitcher?
Apparently, the Mets saw something in Rocker’s post-draft physical they didn’t like.
(According to SNY’s Andy Martino, Rocker did not release medical information prior to the draft, but that’s not a decision that was unique to Rocker.)
The Mets initially offered Rocker a $6 million signing bonus that was contingent on a physical exam. After that exam, the Mets never countered with a lower number. They essentially told Rocker he could either sign for no bonus and a typical minor-league salary (which isn’t much at all), or he could walk and re-enter the draft in 2022.
Rocker made the wise decision to walk away.
For now, we have no idea what the exam revealed. Rocker’s agent Scott Boras, however, maintains that Rocker is healthy.
“Kumar Rocker is healthy according to independent medical review by multiple prominent baseball orthopedic surgeons,” said Boras in a statement. “Immediately upon conclusion of his collegiate season, he had an MRI on both his shoulder and his elbow. When compared with his 2018 MRIs, the medical experts found no significant change. Kumar requires no medical attention and will continue to pitch in the regular course as he prepares to begin his professional career.”
Rocker is not planning to return to Vanderbilt next season. He will instead prepare for the 2022 MLB Draft. The Mets, meanwhile, will receive the No. 11 pick in the 2022 MLB draft as compensation for not signing Rocker.
Featured image via George Walker IV / Tennessean.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC