KC Royals set pretty high expectations for Bobby Witt Jr.

Can Kansas City's star measure up to his new deal?

Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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Well, it’s happened. For good or bad, the KC Royals have extended Bobby Witt Jr. If you're a Kansas City fan, you're either elated or filled with dread; either way, we're in for the long haul.  

Bobby Witt Jr. signs big pre-arbitration deal with the KC Royals

Kansas City last week wrapped Witt in what could be, depending on how options are or aren't exercised, a minimum 11-year, $288.7 million deal with a $7,777,777 signing bonus, making him the highest-paid Royal in franchise history. Given the nature of the contract, and barring a highly improbable trade, Witt will be in KC for at least the next seven seasons — he has opt-outs after the 2030, 2031, 2032 and 2033 seasons. Whether he'll exercise any of those options, or whether the club exercises any of the opt-outs it has for the deal's final three years, no one knows.

Important to point out is that deals like this are not normal. There was no real pressing need to sign Witt because he was under team control for four more seasons including the coming one, so the Royals had him locked in through age 27.

But this kind of pre-arbitration, long-term deal has, for better or worse, become more common in recent years. There is a lot of risk in committing so much money to a player for such a long time frame, especially when that player has played only two seasons in the majors and is under team control. This illustrates the two key expectations that must be addressed concerning Witt's contract: on-field performance and longevity.

Let's consider both...