The tumultuous and short-lived relationship between the New York Mets and this year’s first-round draft pick Kumar Rocker appears to be meeting it’s end on Sunday. According to Jeff Passan, the team is not expected to sign the No. 10 overall pick before the 5 p.m. E.T. deadline.
Concern started to surround Rocker during the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft when he started to fall down the board in the first round. After being one of the best pitchers in college baseball, the Vanderbilt right-hander continued to slide until the Mets took him with the 10th pick.
However, New York quickly discovered an issue during his physical examination, which immediately put the deal on hold. According to Passan and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the disagreement stems from the Mets not wanting to pay the previously agreed upon $6 million to Rocker. The pitcher’s team has shown no sign of being willing to negotiate that amount down.
“Mets do not seem willing to pay Rocker the agreed $6M bonus, their prerogative. And there’s no sign yet Rocker would negotiate down. Things can change but at moment deal for the No. 10 pick by 5 pm deadline seems unlikely. If no deal Mets add pick 11 next year,” Heyman wrote on Twitter, crediting Passan for his earlier reporting.
Mets do not seem willing to pay Rocker the agreed $6M bonus, their prerogative. And there’s no sign yet Rocker would negotiate down. Things can change but at moment deal for the No. 10 pick by 5 pm deadline seems unlikely. If no deal Mets add pick 11 next year. @JeffPassan on it
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 1, 2021
It remains to be seen exactly what went awry with Rocker’s physicals, but it’s clearly enough for the Mets to let the top prospect walk. During this past season at Vanderbilt, the right-hander showed off all the skills needed to be a starter at the professional level, striking out 179 batters with a 2.73 ERA in 122 innings.
If Rocker does not sign, the Mets will receive the 11th pick in the 2022 draft as compensation. However, it’ll be difficult not to look back at this year’s class and think about what could’ve gone differently.