Forget superstar breakout, Bobby Witt Jr. is turning in an MVP-caliber season and one of the very best in Royals history. With each spectacular play or home run blast, his potential extension is becoming more expensive by the day.
The Kansas City front office should try to extend Witt Jr. immediately or risk losing perhaps the franchise’s best player since George Brett for good.
If I’m owner John Sherman, locking up the 2019 No. 2 overall pick would be at the top of my priority list, even ahead of plans for a new ballpark.
Bobby Witt Jr.’s Torrid Stretch
Pick virtually any stat you want and you’ll find Witt Jr. among the game’s best. In fact, he’s on a historic pace matched only by Hall of Fame-caliber players.
That’s an incredible list to be on, as Bobby’s bat has finally caught up with his speed to make him one of the best offensive players in the sport.
He’s a spark of excitement and joy for a ballclub mired in mediocrity. Witt Jr.’s greatest accomplishment for a team stuck in a lost season is a simple one: he’s made them exciting.
After racing around the bases in just over 14 seconds for an inside-the-park home run a few days ago, he drilled a grand slam the next day, becoming the first Royals player to ever accomplish those two feats in consecutive games.
Few players in MLB are as exciting and fun as Witt Jr. is. For the season, he’s got a .806 OPS with 23 home runs, 76 RBI, and 34 stolen bases while ranking among the league leaders in defensive metrics.
All while providing a youthful exuberance as the heart and soul of this Royals team. With some critical improvements to the pitching staff this offseason, Kansas City could compete for a divisional crown behind its star as soon as next year.
That makes Bobby’s importance even more clear. There’s no need to delay the inevitable – the Royals need to extend Witt Jr. as soon as possible.
Imagining a Bobby Witt Jr. Extension
Witt Jr. won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2027 season but he’s becoming more expensive with each passing day. The Mariners stunned many in baseball by signing phenom Julio Rodriguez to a 12-year deal worth more than $200 million last season, but that kind of contract would be a steal for Kansas City now.
It’s looking likely Witt Jr.’s extension could reach $300 million, which is worrisome given the richest contract the Royals have ever given out wasn’t even $100 million.
This is a talent the likes of which this generation of Royals fans have never seen. After a decade of apathy and 100-loss teams, Witt Jr. is the bridge from old Royals fans to new, and it’d be an all-too-familiar gut punch to let him walk.
At a time Sherman is trying to secure public funding for a new ballpark and maintain goodwill in the city, a Witt Jr. extension would show the fanbase the organization is serious about competing.
For Witt Jr.’s credit, it makes sense for him to wait to sign a deal given he’s rapidly becoming one of the most important players in the sport. Another season like this one and he could be in line to sign one of the richest deals in MLB history.
Kansas City can’t afford to wait. The organization needs to lock Witt Jr. up long-term now or risk losing its greatest star forever.