The Royals are entertaining the idea of a long-term deal with Bobby Witt Jr. that could cost more than $200 million, according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. After a breakout season in which Witt became the first 30 home run, 30 stolen base player in club history, the cost of a new contract has gone up exorbitantly. But the price tag doesn’t seem to have scared off the Royals quite yet.
After free-agent shortstops Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson agreed to contracts for a combined $957 million last offseason, the Royals’ chances of signing Bobby Witt Jr. to a monster extension seemed rather slim.
They still might be. But the club is at least entertaining the idea of approaching Witt, according to a source briefed on the team’s plans but not authorized to discuss them publicly.
Rosenthal points to recent $200+ million deals to Austin Riley and Julio Rodriguez, and the eight-year, $111 million deal to Corbin Carroll as references for a possible Witt deal. The 23-year old Royals shortstop has two years of service time under his belt, and would be eligible for free agency after the 2027 season.
Whether or not Witt is open to a deal remains to be seen. He is represented by Octagon, where his father works as an agent, the same agency that negotiated the Rodriguez deal. But the fact the Royals are open to the idea of an extension gives hope to Royals fans that a deal is possible.
But the Royals know a Witt deal almost certainly would cost them more than $200 million, and they are not dismissing the possibility. That alone constitutes progress.
On a recent appearance on WHB 810, Witt indicated he wanted to stay in Kansas City.
Bobby Witt Jr. talked with @Leabonics about his future with the Royals.— Sports Radio 810 WHB (@SportsRadio810) November 8, 2023
"Is this the organization you'd like to be with?"
"No doubt. This is the organization I got drafted by, the organization I came up with...the goal would be win the World Series for the city of Kansas City,… pic.twitter.com/olIE3x4WXN
The Royals are coming off a club record-tying 106-loss season, and have not had a winning season since 2016. They face an uphill battle trying to convince a skeptical public to approve public funding for a new downtown ballpark. Signing their star player would at least help their public image a bit as they try to convince fans they are serious about fielding a competitive team. But there is still a long way from being “open” to an extension, and actually getting it done.