ESPN’s Buster Olney was among the most prominent people on Twitter to point out that Rocker is now unable to sign with any MLB team as a result of this snafu with the Mets. He said that the MLB and the league’s Players Association are responsible for creating such an absurd situation.
“MLB and the Players Association are jointly responsible for this, but how absurd is it that a team can draft a player and choose not to sign him, as with Mets and Kumar Rocker — and the player can’t sign anywhere under the MLB umbrella? What a joke,” Olney tweeted.
Olney has quickly found a lot of support in his statement, gaining several thousand likes and retweets in a few minutes. But some of the comments have pointed out the flaw that it would encourage MLB draft picks to not sign with the team that drafted them in favor of title contenders all the time.
Oh, so he can be signed by NYY,BOS, or LA?? No thanks
— Eric Hughes (@eric_hughes9) August 1, 2021
Great point except that every major US sport has a draft and if a player doesn't sign, he has to wait at least a year. It sux as a Mets fan but I doubt they're making up that they saw something they didn't like in his exam. Getting rid of drafts would help teams like…the Mets https://t.co/PFXJjESWIo
— Adam Warner (@agwarner) August 1, 2021
Wouldn’t essentially make every single drafted player a free agent? Wouldn’t every player not sign and then allow free agency to create a market price for them that I’m sure would be well over slot? What’s to stop the Dodgers from signing the top 5 picks?
— James Gattas (@jgatz13) August 1, 2021
Because, genius, then no one would sign with the team that drafted them and sign with the Yankees.
— Chris_! (@chris_onli_one) August 1, 2021
Olney didn’t agree though. He clapped back at the idea, pointing out that it’s not fair that teams get to abuse the system to the exclusion of the players:
So it's OK for the teams to abuse the system but not the draftees?
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 1, 2021
It’s a topic that’s probably going to be difficult for the MLB or MLBPA to address in the future – if they do at all.
But this incident with Kumar Rocker could be the thing that at least prompts a conversation, if not outright change.
As for the New York Mets, they’re going to receive the No. 11 pick in the 2022 MLB Draft as compensation. But Kumar Rocker will have to wait at least another year before getting his shot to play in the majors.