4:06PM: As earlier reporting indicated, Rocker and the Mets have not come to an agreement, according to the team. They will now received an extra pick in the first round of next year’s draft at #11 overall. Rocker’s agent, Scott Boras, released a statement to various reporters, including ESPN’s Jeff Passan. In it, he declares that “Rocker is healthy according to independent medical review by multiple prominent baseball orthopedic surgeons.”
Anthony DiComo of MLB.com quotes general manager Zack Scott as saying “This is clearly not the outcome we had hoped for and wish Kumar nothing but success moving forward.”
Jon Heyman of MLB Network says that it’s expected that Rocker won’t return to college but will “work out on his own” and re-enter next year’s draft.
AUG 1, 11:26AM: Rocker and the Mets aren’t expected to reach an agreement before today’s 4pm CT signing deadline, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel. While not all hope has been abandoned that the two sides might still work something out, it would take “a drastic change” for a late agreement.
JULY 27: The Mets and Kumar Rocker had an agreement seemingly in place just hours after the Vanderbilt right-hander was selected with the 10th overall pick of the draft, but it now isn’t clear if the deal will be finalized. Metsmerized’s Jack Ramsey reported earlier this week that an issue had emerged from Rocker’s physical with the team, and now according to Ken Davidoff of The New York Post, the Mets are concerned about Rocker’s right elbow.
The exact nature of this elbow issue isn’t known, or even if there is an elbow issue, as Davidoff writes that “Rocker’s camp disagrees with [the Mets’] concerns.” Rocker did not voluntarily submit an MRI before the draft, though his advisor Scott Boras has been known to preemptively alert teams about physical problems involving prospects before the players are selected. Davidoff notes that Boras provided such an early heads-up to the Mets for Matthew Allan before New York picked the right-hander in 2019, and Allan later underwent Tommy John surgery.
Rocker somewhat surprisingly fell to the Mets after being one of the more hyped prospects of the 2021 class, though his initial deal reportedly contained an overslot bonus — the righty was set to receive a $6MM bonus, well above the $4,739,900 assigned slot price for the 10th overall pick. It stands to reason that the Mets are looking to reduce that $6MM figure, though it isn’t yet known whether the dispute between the two sides could result in Rocket not being signed whatsoever.
Teams have until 4pm CT on Sunday to sign all 2021 draft picks, so there is still plenty of time for an agreement to be reached. If a deal wasn’t worked out, Rocker still has two years of college eligibility remaining and he could re-enter the draft next year. The Mets would receive a compensatory first-round pick that would fall 11th overall in the 2022 draft order, though the draft’s rules could potentially change in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the players (the current CBA expires in December).