The Kansas City Royals are a franchise on the rise. After a dismal 2023 season with the fourth-worst winning percentage in franchise history to close out the year, the team seems to be taking that the way that all good teams should: by picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and getting to work. The Royals' rotation additions this offseason, including Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha, and their added bats with Hunter Renfroe and Adam Frazier, will contribute to a strong young core with a load of promise.
At the center of that core is Bobby Witt Jr., who had a massive 2023 and was inarguably the highlight of the Royals' year. He became the first ever Royal to join the 30-30 club with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases, and led the league in stolen bases with 49 by the end of the year. Now, Witt, only 23 and a second overall pick for the Royals in 2019, will be staying in Kansas City for a long time.
Per Jeff Passan, Witt and the Royals agreed on an 11-year contract extension worth $288.7 million in a huge win for the team. Per Mark Feinsand, the contract includes multiple opt-outs that could take the extension's worth up to $377.7 million, and Witt will also get a $7.7 million signing bonus.
Massive Royals-Bobby Witt Jr. contract details are a win for all
Witt's rookie season in 2022, when he hit 20 home runs with 80 RBI and stole 30 bases, netted him Rookie of the Year votes. His 2023 was clearly even better; he led the league in triples, joined the 30-30 club, improved his walk rate, and earned MVP votes. His projected numbers for next season look even better, with all of FanGraphs' estimations predicting another 30-30 season, a higher OPS, and nearly 97 RBI.
Extending Witt and making him the centerpiece and face of the franchise is monumental for the Royals, who have been languishing in last place in the AL Central for too long. Clearly, the Royals are also dedicated to building up the team around them, as they have surprise contenders as one of the most aggressive teams of the offseason. Witt's extension will make him the 16th highest-paid player ever, and the Royals don't seem to have any reason to doubt that he will be able to come through for them.
These 2024 Royals are going to be a big team. They must view the top of the AL Central as up for grabs, and with Witt set to lead the charge for 11 more years they're, now more than ever, set to make a run for it.