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Kansas City Royals lock up their future by signing star SS Bobby Witt Jr. to 11 - year $288.8 Million Contract
On Monday, February 5th, 2024 the Kansas City Royals announced they signed their young superstar shortstop, Bobby Witt Jr., to an 11 - year $288.8 million contract. Witt Jr. is an amazing young shortstop with unbelievable talent and speed, and he should be the foundation as well as the face of the inexperienced MLB franchise named the Kansas City Royals for long a while to come.
Bobby and the Kansas City Royals are now in an agreement on an 11 - year contract extension worth up to approximately $288.8 million, including a staggering total money guarantee that will keep the young superstar SS in Kansas City with the Royals as they attempt to rebuild a team (and a new ball - park) with him at the center of it all.
The now 23 - year - old Witt Jr., is presently entering his 3rd - Major League Baseball season, and he was absolutely one of the best players in big - leage baseball last season, which leads the Kansas City Royals to spend lavishly on him with his new agreement that includes big - time superstar shortstop money to go along with the flexibility of his contract extension according to a huge Kansas City Royals source around the ball club in Colleen.
The new deal will allow Witt Jr. to have the option to opt - out after the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th years over the lifetime of the contract. It also has a club option for the Kansas City Royals following the 11th - season that would tack on 3 - years and $89 million to the negotiation, giving it a 14th - year with a $377 million ceiling.
Bobby Witt Jr.
Bobby’s signing, just a week before the Kansas City Royals players had to report to spring their training camp following a very winter in which the Kansas City Royals moved in aggressively on the 2023 - 2024 MLB free agency market, in part to help convince Witt Jr. that their primary owner in John Sherman was sincere of his desire to bring the Kansas City Royals back to relevance in less than a decade after they won the franchise's 2nd - World Series championship title of all - time.
Locking up Bobby was the top priority for the Kansas City Royals over the past 2023 - 2024 MLB offseason, and they managed to secure a deal only 2 - months prior to a ballot referendum in Jackson County, Missouri, to extend a three - eighths - of - a - cent tax that would help fund a new downtown Kansas City baseball stadium for the Kansas City Royals as well as renovating the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium.
A 6 - foot - 1, 200 - pound shortstop whose dad spent 16 - years as a big - league pitcher, Witt Jr. has entranced evaluators for years with his combination of power, speed, baseball know - how, and high character. The Kansas City Royals have been scouting him heavily priot to selecting him with the Number - 2 pick out of Colleyville, Texas, back in the 2019 MLB draft. 2 - months later, Sherman bought the Royals from their longtime owner David Glass and they inherited the most talented player to join the organization in many decades.
In Witt Jr.’s 1st - full major - league season back in 2021, Bobby rocketed to Triple - A quickly, and he unanimously won the Minor League Player of the Year Award. At Witt Jr.'s big - league debut on Opening Day in 2022, the Kansas City luminaries from the Royals' lone Hall of Famer, George Brett, to the city's mayor, Quinton Lucas, to the recently crowned NCAA champion University of Kansas men's basketball team showed up to see the Kansas City Royals, and Witt Jr. specifically.
Back as a green - eared rookie ball - player, Bobby’s performance matched the hype with his 20 - home runs, 30 - stolen bases, best - in -baseball speed, and a glove that could grow into something extremely special for the Kansas City Royals.
A better version of Witt Jr. showed up last year following Witt Jr. spending the spring with the United States of America World Baseball Classic team. Bobby led the major leagues with 11 - triples, bumped his home runs by 50 % as well as his stolen bases even more as he continued to mature defensively, and he cut his strikeout rate to an astonishing 17.4 %. Only Ronald Acuña Jr., Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, and Ozzie Albies who were the first 3 of whom that finished 1st or 2nd in the MLB MVP race last season. Witt Jr. had 30 or more home runs with lower strikeout rates.
The Kansas City Royals
Never a better time for a contract extension than this winter MLB offseason. Witt Jr. would have entered arbitration after the 2024 MLB season, and he would have been just 3 - years from free the MLB free agency market and the allure of all big - league teams with much more money than the Kansas City Royals. Had a deal not been able to be completed, the Kansas City Royals could have begun entertaining the possibility of trading Witt Jr. especially if it was very clear they were unwilling to operate in the $250 million + MLB market space and overshadow their previous record contract of a 4 - year deal worth around $82 million for their MLB All - Star catcher in Salvador Perez.
Sherman was hoping to not only to send the Kansas City Royals on a fast trajectory to winning after a depressing 56 - 106 overall record to finish the 2023 MLB season, but they wanted to convince their fans to vote yes on putting $1 billion toward a ball park which is now estimated to cost close to an astonishing $2 billion which will serve as the nerve center for a downtown entertainment district in Kansas City. The Kansas City Royals' current home, Kauffman Stadium (which is a beautiful ball field), was built back in 1973 and last renovated back in 2009.
Back to MLB Contracts
Discussions have been going on between the Kansas City Royals and Bobby Witt Sr., who serves as his son's agent with Octagon, for months now. Witt Jr.'s guarantee of $288 million is currently the 2nd - largest guaranteed money contract for a pre - arbitration player behind the San Diego Padres star in Fernando Tatis Jr.'s 14 - year, $340 million contract, and it exceeds Tatis Jr.'s deal which was previously regarded as in its own class in annual salary value by approximately $2 million.
The opt - out clauses, which will come after the 2030, 2031, 2032, and 2033 MLB seasons, afford Witt Jr. the possibility to reach the MLB free agency market or even renegotiate his deal, but Bobby intends to remain with the Kansas City Royals long past the first 7 - years which will pay him $148 million. Witt Jr.’s contract extension also includes a no - trade clause as sell as a signing bonus of $7,777,777 (perfect for the player whose number 7 jersey is ubiquitous around Kansas City).
According to Colleen of the Kansas City Royals fan base, the commitment is an overall investment in trust by both sides of the deal. Big - money and long - term contracts for players as young as Witt Jr. are regarded by low - revenue teams like the Kansas City Royals as necessary to keep players of his caliber.
At the same time, they come with enough risk that franchises are loathing to hand them out. Only 6 - previous big - league - ball - players with 2 or less years in the bigs have been given 9 - figure contracts. All have been MLB All - Stars such as Fernando Tatis Jr. (14 - years, $340 million), Julio Rodriguez (12 - years, $209 million), Wander Franco (11 - years, $182 million), Mike Trout (6 - years, $144.5 million), Corbin Carroll (8 - years, $111 million), and Acuña Jr. (8 - years, $100 million).
Witt Jr. is delegating his best ball playing years to an MLB franchise that has struggled to surround him with good players over the course of his initial 2 - years in the majors, during which the Kansas City Royals have compiled an overall record of 121 and 203. The MLB free agent signings of right - handers Seth Lugo (3 - years, $45 million) and Michael Wacha (2 - years, $32 million) have assisted in stabilizing a starting pitching rotation that saw a potential breakout during the 2nd - half of the 2023 MLB season from left - hander Cole Ragans, whom the Kansas City Royals got for reliever Aroldis Chapman last June. The return of 1st - baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, who missed most of the 2023 MLB season (following him having to undergo shoulder surgery) should provide Witt Jr. with better all - around line - up protection.
Analytics on Bobby Witt Jr.
Multiple MLB franchises have internal projection systems regard Witt Jr. as one of the 10 - best players in Major League Baseball, and they see an MVP - type seasons in his immediate future. During his 1st - MLB season, Witt Jr. showed flashes of greatness, and when his fans stumped to ensure that he would remain with the Kansas City Royals, Bobby said that he did not want to look too far ahead but that as he said, "I want to be here for a long time," and now, he most definitely will be.
Bobby Witt Jr.’s Baseball Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards
- American League Triples Leader (2023)
“Bobby Witt Jr. agrees to 11 - year, $288.8M deal with Royals”, Jeff Passan, espn.com, February 5, 2024.
“Bobby Witt Jr.”, baseball-reference.com, February 10, 2024.
“Bobby Witt Jr.”, spotrac.com, February 10, 2024.