Bobby Witt Jr. Signs Largest Contract in Royals History; How Will He Perform?

Bobby Witt Jr. Signs Largest Contract in Royals History; How Will He Perform?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Kansas City Royals made national news Monday, re-signing one of the franchise’s brightest young stars to a record-breaking contract extension.

Twenty-three year-old Bobby Witt Jr. amassed 4.4 wins above replacement and 30 home runs across 641 at-bats with Kansas City last season in his first full season. He become the latest member of MLB’s “30-30 club” by bashing 30 home runs and stealing 49 bases.

On Monday afternoon, the Royals signed Witt Jr. to the largest contract in franchise history —reportedly worth $288.8 million over the next 11 years. Was it smart for the franchise to lock up the 2019 No. 2 pick?

In advance of your Kansas sports betting on the MLB next season, BetKansas.com looked at how MLB teams perform in the season after signing a player to the largest contract in a team’s history. For the Royals and Los Angeles Dodgers, we used the previous largest contract before the Witt Jr. and Shohei Ohtani contracts.

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MLB Players After Signing Largest Contract in Team History

Situation# of Players% of Players
All-Star Appearance1653.3%
No All-Star Appearance1446.7%
* — One player, Mike Trout, won MVP in next season.

ESPN BET Kansas lists Witt in a tie for fifth in its odds to be the regular season hit leader at +1600.

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MLB Teams After Signing Largest Contract in Team History

Situation# of Teams% of Teams
Playoff Appearance1343.3%
No Playoff Appearance1756.7%
* — Two teams (Cubs and Dodgers) won World Series the next season.

Kansas betting apps still list the Royals as one of the longest shots to win the World Series at +10000, tied with the Chicago White Sox and Washington for the third-worst odds in baseball.

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Can Witt Live Up to Contract?

There’s no denying Witt is one of the sport’s brightest stars, with his brief stint with the big league club backing up the young infielder’s lofty prospect rankings since the Royals drafted him with the second pick of the 2019 MLB Draft.

Players that have signed a record-breaking deal have gone on to make the playoffs the following season 13 out of 30 times (or 43.3%), according to MLB Trade Rumors, while 16 out of 30 (53.3%) went on to make that league’s All-Star team. One even won his league’s MVP award (Mike Trout in 2019) the year he signed his historic deal.

Two teams went on to win the World Series the year after they inked players to historic deals, in the 2016 Chicago Cubs (Jason Heyward) and the 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers (Mookie Betts).

As for the 2024 season itself, oddsmakers from FanDuel Kansas list the Royals at +1100 to win the AL Central, ranking fourth out of five teams, behind Minnesota (-145), Detroit (+300) and Cleveland (+420).

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Author

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at BetKansas.com specializing in covering state issues. He covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years.

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