The Kansas City Royals are interested in signing rookie infielder Bobby Witt Jr. to a long-term extension, vice president and general manager J.J. Picollo told reporters in what marked his first media session since being elevated following Dayton Moore's firing. Picollo warned that a deal is far off as the Royals remain in the earliest parts of the process.
"It's loosely been discussed," Picollo told MLB.com, among others. "There's got to be a lot of creativity in that. It's something John Sherman has asked our department if it's something we'd be interested in. And we are. It's in a very, I would say, infantile stage. We have a lot of ways to go to get deeper into those discussions."
The Royals' appetite for such a deal should come as no surprise. Witt, 22 years old, has held his own this season. He's hit .255/.295/.440 (105 OPS+) with 20 home runs and 28 stolen bases (on 35 attempts) while seeing reps at third base and shortstop. Public defensive metrics have not been kind to Witt's glove, and as such his contributions have been deemed worth just 1.2 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference's calculations.
It's unclear what kind of terms the Royals would offer, or what Witt would require for that matter. Seattle Mariners rookie outfielder Julio Rodríguez, who, like Witt, entered the season ranked near the top of prospect lists, recently signed a seven-year extension worth a guaranteed $119.3 million.
Should Witt ask for a deal similar to the one inked by Rodríguez, he would set a Royals record for the richest deal in franchise history. That distinction currently belongs to catcher Salvador Perez's four-year, $82 million pact he signed in March 2021.