On Monday, the Kansas City Royals extended Bobby Witt Jr. for 11 years, with $288.7 million in guaranteed money, effectively elevating him as the face of their franchise for the foreseeable future. Witt's extension is the 15th richest contract in baseball history, putting his value toward the top of a list that also bears the names Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Aaron Judge.
This was a calculated risk for the Royals, who were 24th in spending in 2023 and are very much still considered a small-market team. The money they'll be spending on Witt is the kind of money that the Phillies are spending on Trea Turner and the Padres are spending on Xander Bogaerts, who sandwich Witt on that list of largest contracts.
Comparisons to those other players were inevitable, but there's also one closer to home that seems to be catching on. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote in the aftermath of the Witt extension that he "becomes the Royals’ version of Patrick Mahomes." This, of course, comes amidst the excitement for this Sunday's Super Bowl LVIII, when the Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs will look to defend their title against the San Francisco 49ers.
Bobby Witt Jr.-Patrick Mahomes comparisons take KC media by storm after Royals extension
It's an exciting time in Kansas City, no doubt. There is no one dominating presence atop the AL Central, so the Royals — though they've placed last in the division for the past two seasons — clearly believe they have a path to the top with Witt at the helm. He'll be expected to be a leader in the clubhouse as well as a star who makes 30-30 seasons look easy. The pitching and offensive additions they've made in the offseason will help them, at the very least, do better than they have in the past few seasons.
However, the Mahomes comparison might be coming a bit too soon. Witt is a star — he received Rookie of the Year votes in 2022 and MVP votes in 2023, and is the first and only Royal to ever have a 30-30 season. But the Royals have a long way to go before they can claim the same kind of successes that the soon-to-be Chiefs dynasty can. Mahomes elevated the Chiefs to contender status immediately after being elevated to a starting role. Witt Jr.? He's been plenty exciting, more so in Year 2 than Year 1, and almost exclusively in losses.
If the Royals can win, or even crack second place in the division this year, and Witt can continue performing at the level his extension expects of him, we might be revisiting the Mahomes take very soon.