How Mariners Julio Rodriguez contract set the stage for Bobby Witt Jr. and Royals

The Mariners changed the world of contracts when they extended Julio Rodriguez. Now, the Royals have taken a page out of their book in extending Bobby Witt Jr.
2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages
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Final thoughts on Julio's contract and Witt's contract

What really stands out to me, and I don't know if it is a pessimism outlook or a realism outlook, is the player option that Bobby Witt Jr holds. If the Royals are terrible, or he has turned into the best player in baseball and want's a new and larger deal, he is free to leave in 2031 after just 7 seasons of the deal.

You could imagine that in this scenario, it would be tempting, and hopefully a restructure would at least happen to keep him there. Otherwise, with how incoming money and salaries could grow, it would be easy for a big market team to try and "buy" him away from Kansas City.

Julio and the Mariners don't have that worry. The Mariners have a handful of different club options that they could implement, and if they don't want to, there is still a player option that he could exercise if he for some reason forgets how to play baseball. However, as mentioned above, if the Mariners want Julio, he is in Seattle through the end of NEXT decade.

With Witt, he could leave after this one. That's a 10-year difference just about, and the biggest difference between the two deals. The other piece that I want to point out is that if Witt does stick around through his player option of 2034, he will have made more annually than Julio up to that point, even with Julio's incentives hitting.

Lastly, I find it very interesting that Witt's player option and Julio's top escalator both sit at $35M annually, although Witt's is a 4YR/$140M and Julio is at 10YR/$350M. The Royals and Bobby Witt Jr used the Mariners' contract with Julio Rodriguez as a blueprint and foundational building block for their future, and it could be the smartest move they've made in a long time.