The New York Mets got what they felt was the steal of the MLB Draft after landing former Vanderbilt ace Kumar Rocker with the No. 10 overall pick a little over two weeks ago.
However, Rocker to the Mets isn’t exactly a done deal after the team expressed some concerns over Rocker’s pitching elbow following his physical, according to a report from the New York Post.
Rocker currently has no known injuries and is not in danger of needing Tommy John surgery. Concerns arose this year about a slight decrease in his velocity that followed him through the SEC Tournament and College World Series.
There are conflicting reports saying Rocker’s elbow issues aren’t serious enough to delay a potential deal and others noting Rocker could leverage going back to Vanderbilt and making money next year off the NCAA’s allowed name, image and likeness legislation.
Those close to the 6-foot-5 righty claim any injury concerns are unfounded, and they’ve pointed to Rocker’s 38 starts and his 236.2 innings pitched over the last three years as proof of his durability.
The Mets had reportedly agreed to sign Rocker to a $6 million contract pending a physical following the draft, which would pay him $1.261 million above his $4.739 million slot value. This would have put Rocker on par with what the Baltimore Orioles gave No. 5 overall pick Colton Cowser.
All drafted players have until 5 p.m. on Sunday to sign their MLB deals or return to school. The Mets and Rocker have a few options on the table including sticking with the original $6 million contract, agreeing to a revised, lower amount or Rocker returning to Vanderbilt and the Mets being awarded a makeup first-round pick in 2022, one slot behind the pick they would forfeit this year by not signing Rocker.
Mets General Manager Zack Scott and Rocker’s agent Scott Boras both declined to comment.
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