royals sign bobby witt jr to largest contract in franchise history reportedly worth 288 8m

Royals sign Bobby Witt Jr. to largest contract in franchise history, reportedly worth $288.8M


Bobby Witt Jr. has a lucrative new contract in Kansas City. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Bobby Witt Jr. has a lucrative new contract in Kansas City. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

The Kansas City Royals announced Monday that they signed Bobby Witt Jr. to the largest contract in franchise history.

Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the deal is worth $288.8 million over 11 years. A shortstop with power and speed on the basepaths, Witt is one of the best young players in baseball, and the contract keeps him with the Royals through his prime on a lucrative deal. The deal also arrives a year before Witt would’ve become arbitration-eligible after the 2024 season.

Witt, 23, is entering his third MLB season. In 158 games last year, he slashed .276/.319/.495 with 30 home runs, 96 RBI and 49 stolen bases. His 11 triples led the AL. After struggling on defense as a rookie, Witt showed great strides in his second MLB campaign. He also reduced his strikeout rate from among the league’s worst (21.4%) as a rookie to 17.4% in 2023, placing him in MLB’s 79th percentile. Overall, he produced 4.4 WAR in 2023.

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Per Passan, the contract includes opt-outs for Witt in years seven through 10. The Royals have an option after the 11th season to extend the contract by three years and $89 million. That would bring the total value of the deal to $377.8 million over 14 years.

The Royals selected Witt out of high school with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft. After three years in the minor leagues, which included Minor League Player of the Year honors in 2021, Witt joined the Royals full-time in 2022. He hit 20 home runs and stole 30 bases as a rookie and finished fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting. He followed that with a 2023 campaign that earned a seventh-place finish in MVP voting.

For the Royals, the contract signals an investment in winning on the heels of a 56-106 campaign and while Jackson County voters face a referendum on whether to raise the sales tax to help fund a new downtown stadium.

Witt’s father, Bobby Witt Sr., played 16 MLB seasons as a pitcher and won a World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. His father now works as his agent and helped negotiate the record-setting contract.

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