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The Kansas City Royals have demoted top prospect Bobby Witt Jr., according to a report from Ken Rosenthal. Some in baseball expected this move since Witt Jr. hadn’t played above ‘A’ Ball, but those of us who use common sense still can’t figure out why that should matter.
It’s a complete travesty that fans of a dwindling sport can’t watch the sport’s best prospects because of service time manipulation. That’s all this was.
The Royals have demoted Bobby Witt Jr., sources tell me and @alec_lewis. Will not open season in majors.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 21, 2021
For those out of the loop, when a player gets called up after a given deadline during the season, then his “service time” with the team doesn’t start until the following year. That makes no logical sense.
Most in baseball know Bobby Witt Jr. is the most talented member of the Kansas City Royals, including the big leagues. So why isn’t he allowed to “develop” against big leaguers? He was batting .333 and blasted a 484-foot home run just last week. The Royals’ future star has been so dominant that CBS Sports wrote an article asking whether Bobby Witt Jr. would win spring training MVP if such an award existed.
How can a player who consistently performs at the plate against big league arms not make a major league roster? Well, I guess the answer is simple:
Service time manipulation
Remember in 2015 when the Chicago Cubs knew Kris Bryant was the best player in their organization but they sent him down before Opening Day anyway? That roster stunk, he was dominating the minor leagues, and he was leading the team during spring training. All the boxes were checked off–the same way they were before this morning’s demotion of Bobby Witt Jr.
It’s hard for young fans to get excited about young prospects when Major League Baseball allows team management to manipulate team control as a money grab.
We hope that Bobby Witt Jr. remembers how Kansas City played their cards and punishes them for it in the future. We saw Fernando Tatis Jr. reward the Padres for calling him up in a timely fashion by agreeing to a 14-year, $340 million extension. Witt should do the opposite.
Baseball feels more like an executives league than it ever did. If they want to grow this game–ditch the service time shenanigans. It’s boring.