In an ideal offseason world, one in which the KC Royals get everything they want before the 2024 season begins, they'd sign Bobby Witt Jr. to an affordable lifetime contract securing his services until he retires. That may be too much to ask, however, for a money-conscious franchise that may not be willing to give Witt the kind of cash such a deal will require.
Such is not the case with another top Royals player. Possessed of great potential but plagued by a seemingly unshakeable inconsistency, Brady Singer can probably be swayed to sign a contract extension he and the club can easily live with, and on financial terms far less onerous than what it will take to convince Witt to live his baseball life in Kansas City.
But the Singer Question is this: should the Royals even broach the subject of an early extension (Singer isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2026 season) with him?
The answer is easy.
Brady Singer is not a suitable candidate for a contract extension
Singer is, put simply and for the long term, too much of a risk for the Royals to take.
His remarkable inconsistency alone should disqualify him from a lucrative multi-year deal. Save for the final three months of the 2022 season when, after a short demotion to the minors, he seemed to find the keys to sustained success by going 7-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 16 starts, Singer can't boast a really stellar and lengthy run of reliability. He finished 10-5, 3.23, a stark contrast to 2021 when he lost 10 games and posted a 4.91 ERA. He lost a career-high 11 games this season and had a career-worst 5.52 ERA.
And as his four-season big league record of 27-31, 4.49 suggests, the Royals don't know quite what to expect whenever he pitches.
Singer's odd relationship with the changeup, a pitch he needs but uses sporadically, should also give Sherman and General Manager J.J. Picollo pause. Whether Singer doesn't like the pitch, isn't comfortable with it, or just can't master it to the level he feels is best, throwing the change, or some other good third pitch with which he can expand his limited, primarily two-pitch arsenal, should be a prerequisite to any contract extension. His slider-sinker combo isn't consistently sufficient, and the two pitches don't work well together often enough.
Then there's his health. A lower lumbar issue ended Singer's 2023 campaign prematurely; he'll need a clean bill of health before the Royals throw a lot of money his way.
All that means Kansas City should delay, at least for another year, any serious consideration of extending Singer. Locking him up with a long-term deal could, all things considered, backfire, meaning Singer could be tough to trade, and a a chunk of salary would be tough to swallow if the club had to release him.