The Royals need to pursue a long-term deal with Bobby Witt Jr.
Is there a bigger club priority this offseason than locking Bobby Witt Jr. into a long contract extension?
Probably not. Improving their pitching is a top priority, but a Witt deal is perhaps even more imperative. There are a lot of pitchers this club can pursue, but only one Witt.
That wasn't necessarily the case last winter, not after the player who may, before he's done with baseball years from now, surpass franchise icon and Hall of Famer George Brett's career numbers. Witt's 20 homers and 30 steals were certainly impressive, especially for a rookie, but he hit only .254 with a disappointing .294 OBP; yes, his 102 OPS+ was above average, but barely.
Witt silenced detractors this season, becoming the first Royal ever to homer 30 times and steal 30 bases in a single season. He stole 49 bases, led the majors in triples with 11, and drove in 96 runs. And he raised his average and OBP over 20 points apiece on the way to slashing .276/.319/.495.
That Witt is becoming everything he's been hyped to be is obvious. Like Brett, he's a franchise-type player and personality; Sherman, who holds the combination to the Royal vault, must do everything he can to make sure Witt sticks around and doesn't bolt for free agency when he first becomes eligible after the 2027 season ends. That means extending him this winter; failing that, Sherman has to be ready to show Royals fans he did everything he could to get a deal done.
If he can't do either, fans may never forgive him.
How else can John Sherman irritate fans?