3 most pressing contract extensions for Reds after Bobby Witt Jr. news

Bobby Witt Jr. signed a massive contract extension with the Kansas City Royals on Monday.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz / Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/GettyImages
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The Reds could offer Noelvi Marte a contract extension before his rookie season

When comparing the Cincinnati Reds young core to Bobby Witt Jr., it's important to understand that none of them have the same level of success and experience playing at the highest level. Witt completed this second full major league season in 2023, and has proven to be an exciting young player.

While Witt's signing is what prompted this conversation, extending Noelvi Marte could be the Reds best course of action. Rather than comparing Marte to Witt, the Reds' third baseman would be better compared to Colt Keith, who just signed a nine-year, $82 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.

Marte will still be considered a rookie in 2024. A former top prospect in the Seattle Mariners organization, Marte plowed through both Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville in 2023 en route to making his major league debut late last summer.

While both Elly De La Cruz and Matt McLain earned a year of service time last season, Marte did not. The 22-year-old won't reach free agency until after the 2029 season, and won't be arbitration eligible until 2027.

Unlike De La Cruz and McLain, Marte is not one of Scott Boras' clients. While Boras prefers to take his clients through their arbitration years and into free agency, Marte's representation has worked out contract extensions for Cleveland Guardians' third baseman Jose Ramirez and former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Luis Castillo.

All three of these young players represent the core of the Reds franchise moving forward. While Reds fans would love to see all three develop and lead this club for the next decade, that seems unlikely. With baseball contracts getting bigger and bigger, Cincinnati's ownership group may want to act fast and lockup one or more of their young stars for the long haul.