Hold onto your butts, as the verbal agreement of a $6 million signing bonus for Kumar Rocker is now in jeopardy after his physical. The gist of the NY Post article is this:
The Mets’ agreement with their first-round draft pick Kumar Rocker is in limbo after the team expressed concerns with the right-hander’s pitching elbow during his physical examination, multiple industry sources told The Post.
Rocker’s camp disagrees with those concerns, citing the pitcher’s durability at Vanderbilt, leading to a stalemate as Sunday’s 5 p.m. signing deadline approaches.
Rocker, whom the Mets drafted 10th overall, had agreed to a $6 million signing bonus on draft day pending the physical. The two sides could either sign off on a smaller figure, part ways altogether, or move forward with the original deal if the Mets determine that he’s worth the risk.
If an agreement can’t be reached, Rocker could return to Vanderbilt for his senior year, aim to get selected even higher in 2022 and earn outside money through the NCAA’s name, image and likeness allowance in the meantime.
Safe to say we didn’t expect that. Generally speaking, teams don’t use red flags that come up during a player’s physical as a negotiating ploy. When the team comes to an informal verbal agreement over a bonus number and then takes that player in the draft, especially in the first round, especially in the top ten picks of the first round, they fully expect the deal to go through as agreed upon.
This has happened before, of course—perhaps most famously when Houston took LHP Brady Aiken #1 overall in 2014, only to find inflammation in the elbow of his throwing arm. Houston balked, offered much less money, Aiken went to IMG Academy for a post grad year, and then was chosen #17 overall by the Cleveland Indians (now Guardians) in ‘15.
As I said at the top, hold onto your butts. If the Mets feel this flag is red enough to lower their offer significantly, or pull it altogether, Kumar Rocker may just return for one more go around in gangster pajamas.
This is not an optimal result for anyone involved in these negotiations, and I sincerely hope the Mets keep their word and Kumar signs. We will have a live thread this Sunday heading up to the 5pm signing deadline, of course, as we watch what happens between Kumar Rocker and the Mets, and Jordan Lawlar (1st round, 6th overall) and Davis Diaz (12th round; could be viewed as a consolation prize over-slot deal if Lawlar turns them down at the last minute) with the Dbags.
August 1st just got a whole lot spicier at Anchor of Gold.