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.
Unless the rules change through the upcoming Basic Agreement (the current one expires on December 1), the Mets would get a “makeup pick” next year behind the 10th-worst club if an agreement cannot be reached.
Citing the team’s intention to reserve comment on all draft picks until the deadline, Mets general manager Zack Scott declined comment. Rocker’s agent, Scott Boras, also declined comment.
Jack Ramsey of the USA Today-Mets Network first reported of a medical issue regarding Kumar, who underwent his examination with the Mets last week.
Rocker, 21, made 42 appearances in college ball, 39 of them starts, without missing any time.
He didn’t participate in Major League Baseball’s voluntary MRI program, by which the top 50 pitching prospects are asked to undergo the test prior to the draft.
Boras relies on his own team of medical experts to evaluate all of his players and has proactively alerted clubs of potential physical issues, such as when the Mets selected his advisee Matt Allan in the third round of the 2019 amateur draft.
Allan underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year. No such alert occurred with Rocker.