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Feb 5, 2024 2:19 pm

Bobby Witt Jr. agrees to $288.8M extension with Royals

Bobby Witt Jr. waves

The Kansas City Royals agreed to a franchise-record, 11-year, $288.8 million contract extension with Bobby Witt Jr. to keep the infielder as a cornerstone of a roster rebuild.

Witt, 23, finished seventh in American League MVP voting last season when he batted .276 with an .813 OPS for the Royals, with a major league-leading 11 triples to go along with 30 home runs and 96 RBIs.

Witt, Kansas City’s first-round draft pick (No. 2 overall) in 2019, had six triples, 20 home runs and 80 RBIs in 2022, when he finished fourth in AL rookie-of-the-year voting.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Sherman family and the Royals front office for believing in me, and I promise to do everything in my power to help bring championship baseball back to Kansas City! Let’s go!!” Witt said in a post to X (formerly Twitter), in a reference to John Sherman, who purchased the Royals in 2019.

The Royals have not finished a regular season above .500 since winning the World Series in 2015 and were 56-106 last season, a .346 winning percentage that was tied for the worst in franchise history.

The contract only adds to Witt’s role as the budding face of a franchise that hopes to move into a new stadium in the near future, with a downtown site under consideration. A stadium tax of less than half a cent, that also will benefit the Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium, is up for a vote this spring.

The 11-year contract for Witt also includes four opt-out seasons starting in 2030 and has an option that would add three more years to the tail end of the deal and take it to $377 million.

The only MLB player to land a bigger guaranteed deal before reaching their first arbitration season was Fernando Tatis Jr., who signed a 14-year, $340 million contract in 2021.

Witt is the son of former major leaguer Bobby Witt, who pitched for 16 seasons. Tatis is the son of former major leaguer Fernando Tatis, who played for 11 seasons.

–Field Level Media

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