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Reactions to the Bobby Witt Jr. signing

It’s a lot of money!

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Cleveland Guardians v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

On Monday, the Royals signed Bobby Witt Jr. to an eleven-year, $288.7 million contract that includes three years of club options that could total up to $377 million over 14 years, with player opt outs after years seven, eight, nine, and ten. It is a massive deal, by far the biggest in club history and potentially the third biggest in baseball history behind only Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.

Owner John Sherman was happy to announce the signing.

“We are extraordinarily proud to announce an historic deal with a very special player,” Royals CEO/chairman John Sherman, who bought the team in 2019, said in a statement. “Like our fans, I’m thrilled that this ensures Bobby will compete in a Royals uniform for many years to come. Bobby makes us better, and I’m grateful for his commitment to our fans, our city, and our team.”

J.J. Picollo remarked about what a talent Witt has been.

“From the day we drafted him we felt confident Bobby would become one of our game’s brightest stars and biggest talents,” Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said. “These last two seasons have been confirmation of that talent, and proof that he’s an even better teammate. We know he wants to win here for our fans as much as we do.”

In a team statement about his new deal, Bobby expressed his desire to stay in Kansas City.

“From the moment I was drafted in 2019, the entire Royals organization and fans have treated me and my family like their own,” Witt said in a statement. “This city and this team have felt like home since day one, and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to continue to represent all of KC.”

David Adler at MLB.com writes why this massive deal is worth it.

An elite power-speed combo is one of the clear paths to MVP contention in today’s game. The MVP Awards of the last decade-plus of Major League Baseball are littered with power-speed stars: Acuña, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich, Jose Altuve, Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun.

It’s easy to see Witt joining that group … and soon.

Ken Rosenthal writes that while there isn’t a level playing field, the Witt signing shows small market teams can spend if they want to.

Other changes to enhance competitive balance should be further explored. The awarding of additional draft picks to low-revenue clubs. A penalty system at the bottom of the payroll structure that operates similarly to the luxury-tax system at the top. And additional ideas generated by greater minds than mine.

The Royals play in the game’s third smallest media market and just guaranteed Bobby Witt nearly $300 million.

Don’t call it an outlier. It should be common practice, for owners who actually care.

Tyler Kepner of The Athletic writes that this could help make the Royals competitive.

“They’re playing in a division right now that, let’s be honest, isn’t very good,” said Denny Matthews, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who has called Royals games since the franchise was founded in 1969. “There’s no big power in the American League Central, not even close. So all you have to do is beat four other teams.

“That’s pretty workable. You can begin to dream a little bit about that. Pieces fall into place, and all of a sudden there you are.”

David Lesky at Inside the Crown considers the ripple effect the signing may have.

Beyond, though, this makes the Royals players. They have one of the best players in baseball locked in through at least 2030. They have shown a willingness to spend money. They have shown a willingness to commit to an individual. They have the shortstop position locked and loaded for at least seven more years. There are so many different directions they can now go because they have both cost certainty and player certainty at one of the most important positions on the diamond.

Do they go back to something I wrote a few weeks ago and make a play for Matt Chapman while using Maikel Garcia to acquire more roster help? Maybe! It helps knowing they aren’t going to be needing to move their superstar shortstop to move the guy best positioned to fill that role. Or maybe Witt can work to recruit players in future offseasons. Great players have a way to do that.

Vahe Gregorian writes that the Witt signing comes in quite a week for Kansas City sports fnas.

The Witt deal, astronomically above the previous most prolific in franchise history, reflects a profound message about the franchise’s commitment to a revival. And it makes a statement that surely will bolster its intention to build a downtown ballpark district with the aid of Jackson County voters it hopes to have approve a ballot initiative to extend the current stadiums’ sales tax that the Royals and Chiefs enjoy.

Others in the organization were pumped about the signing.

Former teammates congratulated Bobby.

Others seemed to like the deal as well.

And fans, of course, were pumped.