Anne Rogers has some further reporting on the Royals’ extension of Bobby Witt, Jr.:
“…You see what they’re doing across the street with the fanbase over there, we want to get that back over here in blue,” Witt said. “That’s definitely the goal. We’re just going to keep working and keep getting better.”
The Royals have a long way to go for this all to work out. It starts at the Major League level and must trickle down to the farm system, because the Royals don’t always want to rely on free agency. A homegrown core is vitally important to their vision.
“We’ve got to scout well, we’ve got to develop well, and put players internally around Bobby,” Picollo said. “And then be able to acquire free agents when needed. That’s something that John has been open about: When the time is right, we’ll do what we need to do. This year, we needed to make some moves.
“[Extending Witt] is an indication of how we’ll operate in the future, whether it’s through our own player development and scouting or free agency. We have to acquire and put good players around Bobby year in and year out.”
Craig Brown wrote a detailed rundown of Witt’s contract that included this note on what it Means:
A contract like this can’t help but change the calculus. Not just in Kansas City and for the Royals and Witt, but for baseball in general. It shatters the small market trope that teams in the Central Divisions have been operating under for the past 30 years.
If the Royals, playing in the 28th largest major league market can afford a contract like this, what exactly is the excuse of the Chicago White Sox? Not that I’m advocating that teams like the White Sox actually punch their financial weight. I’m more than fine with Andrew Benintendi being the recipient of Chicago’s largest-ever contract. Yet if I were a fan of the White Sox, I would be irate. Hell, I’d feel the same if I were a fan of the Guardians or the Twins. This is an eminently winnable division if a team has the foresight and the stones to spend a little money. The Royals and the Tigers are the only teams in the Central that spent the winter being serious.
When it comes to the impact of the Witt contact on the field, there’s going to be a bit of delayed gratification. An extension for a player already on the roster doesn’t make the team any better. The Royals didn’t improve their standing on Monday afternoon. However, they made a statement of intent. Everyone in baseball took notice. Everyone. That so-called free agent tax the Royals have paid in the past? It may not disappear completely overnight, but Picollo and Sherman have certainly done their part to bury it as a factor. Instead of saying to a free agent, “Here’s an extra year,” now they can say, “Come play with a superstar who is going to spend most (if not all) of his career with the Royals.”
Alvin Garcia at Farm to Fountains took a look at how the members of 2024 Royals rotation have done against AL Central teams in their careers.
Jake Eisenberg tweeted one of my favorite-ever BWJ highlights, the inside-the-park home run that was his first Triple-A homer:
Before he arrived in Omaha for his Triple-A debut in ‘21, we kept hearing not just how special he’d be, but how special he *already was.*— Jake Eisenberg (@JakeEisenberg_) February 6, 2024
Then, he was immediately spectacular on and off the field.
Will never forget how he dazzled in his just his second career Triple-A game. pic.twitter.com/oc6P8sxTf8
I don’t have enough here to make a whole post, but: everyone I’ve talked to privately only has the best things to say about Bobby Witt, Jr. as a person and as a teammate. That was true in 2021 when he first came up to Omaha and it remains true among guys who have been his teammate since. It’s nice to hear.
Some old friend updates: Jakob Junis is signing with the Brewers; Collin Snider was claimed by the Mariners. Bradley Zimmer, the brother of old friend Kyle Zimmer, is heading to the Rockies on a minors deal. Maybe putting in the brother of a former Royal is a stretch, but let’s try it and see what happens.
Clayton Kershaw will remain a Dodger for 2024 and an option for 2025, pending a physical.
And in other news of a player remaining on the only team of his storied career, Jose Altuve and the Astros agreed on a five-year extension for $125 million.
Seems like a bad sign for the A’s relocation that the Las Vegas mayor is telling them to stay in Oakland! Super fun!
The Storm Chasers did a fun activity with one of my photos of Nate Eaton. Go look at the replies!
49ers quarterback Brock Purdy bears a striking resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald.
Have you ever made doughnuts using Bisquick? Would you? There’s also a Bisquick apple fritter recipe at the link.
You no longer need an invite code to join Bluesky, an alternative to Twitter.
A fact-check on a tweet that goes around sometimes claiming that the first Polish language dictionary has the definition of ‘horse’ as ‘everyone knows what a horse is.’ It’s sort of true!
NOT an affiliate link, I just noticed that all AirPods appear to be on sale on Amazon.
Alison at Ask a Manager ran an update from the letter writer who was dealing with men hitting on a chatbot because it had a female name. (And here’s a link to the original letter if you missed it.)
SOTD - the only song for today’s date! The Avett Brothers - February Seven