KC Royals GM confirms very early talks of contract extension with rookie Bobby Witt Jr.

Kamil Krzaczynski/AP

Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez is the odds-on favorite to win the American League Rookie of the Year award, but Royals fans missed an opportunity to see him this weekend.

Rodriguez is on the injured list because of a lower-back strain, so he wasn’t at Kauffman Stadium for Seattle’s three-game series against the Royals and their own highly touted rookie, shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.

Witt has long odds to win the Rookie of the Year award, but he’s had 30 doubles, 20 home runs, 28 stolen bases and 77 RBIs. Witt, 22, has struck out too often (125) and walked just 27 times, but could he be in line for a big contract extension like Rodriguez received from Seattle?

Last month, the Mariners announced Rodriguez had agreed to a contract extension through the 2034 season with options that could run through 2039. He’ll received a guaranteed $210 million and the deal could end up being worth $470 million.

Atlanta has signed three of its stars (center fielder Michael Harris, third baseman and first baseman Matt Olson) to long-term deals, too.

Will Witt get a similar long-term contract with the Royals?

During a meeting with reporters on Saturday, Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said there have been very general discussions about a long-term deal with Witt, who was the second overall pick of the 2019 draft and made his debut this season.

“It’s loosely been discussed,” Picollo said. “There’s got to be a lot of creativity in that. It is something (chairman and CEO) John Sherman has asked our department if that’s something we’d be interested in, and we are, but it’s in the very I would say infantile stages. We have a long way to go to get deeper into those discussions.”