KC Royals: Who's next in line for a big extension?

Bobby Witt Jr. is in for the long haul. Who should the club extend next?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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The KC Royals have been active this offseason, shaking off their thrifty reputation with multiple acquisitions to make the team better. Their biggest transaction came last week when they signed Bobby Witt Jr. to a team record contract extension that has Kansas City buzzing about the Royals again. Naturally, fans are wondering what current players might be at the top of the list for the next extension?

Here are three viable candidates.

Vinnie Pasquantino: Kansas City's next big bat

If one polled the fans, Vinnie Pasquantino would likely be the runaway top choice for an extension. One of the most popular Royals, Pasquantino has a higher ceiling than anyone not named Witt. He has a solid glove at first base, but it's Pasquantino's bat that has fans most excited.

Pasquantino is a true professional hitter, something this club has lacked in recent years. He doesn't strikeout much — 11.7% for his career, compared to the major league average of 22.6% — and he walks a lot. But unlike some analytics darlings, Pasquantino isn't about empty numbers. He knows how to make contact, and when he does, he has pop. He has 19 home runs and 27 doubles with a 122 OPS+ in his short career.

Those numbers may not be eye-popping, but keep in mind he's played only 133 big league games since breaking in two seasons ago. And that's the catch with Pasquantino — he has yet to play a full major league season, and is coming off major shoulder surgery which cut short his 2023 campaign. Hopefully, Pasquantino can bounce back this year, and fans will probably be overjoyed if Kansas City locks him up right away. But the franchise can't be blamed if it takes a wait-and-see approach, at least in the short term.

If Pasquantino returns to form quickly in 2024, however, the Royals would be wise not to hesitate. He has all the makings of a leader for a winning club for years to come.