MLB Rumors: The New York Mets and first round draft pick Kumar Rocker have not signed off on the $6 million bonus that the parties agreed to on the day of the MLB Draft due to concerns over Rocker’s elbow, according to Ken Davidoff.
Rocker, a 21 year old righthanded pitcher, was considered, along with Vanderbilt teammate Jack Leiter, one of the top handful of players in the 2021 MLB Draft, but dropped to 10th overall on draft day. Davidoff indicates that the team and player had agreed on a bonus that was well over the $4,739,900 amount allowed at #10 — a $6 million bonus is between the #5 and #6 pick values — but that was contingent, as is usually the case, on a review of medicals.
Rocker is being “advised” by Scott Boras (not “represented,” since amateur athletes can’t have agents, only advisors), and Davidoff, in the article, talks about how Boras clients handle medical info pre-draft. It sounds like Rocker, Boras & Co. do not agree with the Mets in regards to their concerns.
Normally, college juniors have a big incentive to sign and little incentive to return to school, as they only have one year of eligibility remaining and can’t make money while in college. The NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to athletes whose seasons were impacted by COVID-19 in 2020, however, which means Rocker technically has two seasons of eligibility remaining. And as Davidoff notes, the new rules in regards to players being able to capitalize monetarily on their image and likeness rights while in school means that Rocker will have the ability to earn some coin in the meantime. He’s not going to get $6 million, of course, but I imagine he will be able to earn a not-insignificant amount over the next eleven months if he returns to school.