Mets fail to sign first-round pick Kumar Rocker amid health concerns

The New York Mets took Valderbilt right-hander Kumar Rocker in the 2021 MLB Draft a few weeks ago. He slid to the tenth spot and the Mets pounced, knowing that they could somewhat offer solutions for the reason he fell that far (mostly, a high signing bonus that would be way over slot.)

However, it was recently discovered that there are some discouraging elements with his arm, and the Mets opted not to sign the big right-hander, who will have to wait until 2022 to re-enter the draft and play professionally in the United States.

The Mets will receive next year’s eleventh selection in the first round as compensation for failing to sign the righty.

Per SNY Andy Martino, “the hiccups in talks began before last Thursday, when Rocker took his Mets physical. Folks around the Mets have been speculating on the subject at least since last Wednesday. Rocker has not been deemed to need Tommy John surgery or any other elbow procedure at this time. Although Rocker’s velocity dropped this year at Vanderbilt, he was pitching healthy through the end of the College World Series. Sources outside of Rocker’s camp affirm that Vandy was not hiding or aware of any injuries. Sources inside Rocker’s camp note that he made 42 consecutive starts and never had a physical issue in college.”

A messy situation for the Mets and Rocker

Both sides had agreed to a $6 million signing bonus, way over the slot value for a tenth overall pick. At one point it became clear that Rocker’s camp wouldn’t accept less than the initially agreed money.

The deadline for the Mets to sign Rocker passed on Sunday at 5:01 pm ET.

Rocker’s agent Scott Boras released the following statement to Martino as the news broke.

“Kumar Rocker is healthy according to independent medical review by multiple prominent baseball orthopedic surgeons,” Boras said. “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.”

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