Thursday, February 22, 2024

Royals Announce 14-Year Contract Agreement with Bobby Witt Jr.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals announced today that they have agreed to the biggest contract in franchise history with shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., a 14-year agreement that includes 11 years guaranteed.

To celebrate Kansas City’s commitment with Witt Jr., the Royals will host a press conference tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. CT in the Kauffman Stadium Hall of Fame Suites. Please contact Logan Jones if you wish to attend. Approved media may enter the ballpark via Gate A.

“From the moment I was drafted in 2019, the entire Royals organization and fans have treated me and my family like their own,” Witt Jr said. “This city and this team have felt like home since day one, and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to continue to represent all of KC. 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!”

“We are extraordinarily proud to announce an historic deal with a very special player,’” said John Sherman, Chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Royals. “Like our fans, I’m thrilled that this ensures Bobby will compete in a Royals uniform for many years to come. Bobby makes us better, and I’m grateful for his commitment to our fans, our city, and our team.”

“From the day we drafted him we felt confident Bobby would become one of our game’s brightest stars and biggest talents,” said J.J. Picollo, Royals Executive Vice President and General Manager. “These last two seasons have been confirmation of that talent, and proof that he’s an even better teammate. We know he wants to win here for our fans as much as we do.”

Witt Jr., 23, recorded 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases as a rookie in 2022. Last year, he recorded 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases, becoming the first player in Royals history with a 30/30 season. In doing so, he became the seventh player in Major League history to go 30/30 in his age-23 season or younger, and was the second American League shortstop—regardless of age—to post a 30/30 season, following Álex Rodríguez, who went 40/40 in 1998. Witt Jr.’s sophomore season earned him 7th place in the American League Most Valuable Player voting.

Witt Jr.’s combination of home runs (30) and steals (49) last season has been matched only four times in Major League history, by Eric Davis (1987), Barry Bonds (1990), Mike Trout (2012) and Ronald Acuña Jr. (2023).

No player in Major League history has matched Witt Jr.’s combination of HR (50) and steals (79) through his first two seasons.

Witt Jr. last season led the Royals in games played (158), hits (177), triples (11), home runs (30), RBI (96), stolen bases (49), OPS (.813, min. 150 AB) and runs (97). Among American League leaders, he ranked 2nd in stolen bases, 3rd in hits, tied for 3rd in total bases (317), tied for 7th in runs, 8th in extra-base hits (69) and tied for 9th in batting average (.276). He also tied Corbin Carroll for the Major League lead with 11 triples, which were the most by any Royal since Carlos Beltrán had 12 triples in 2001.

Witt Jr. in 2023 became the sixth American League player in the last 75 years with at least 30 home runs and 10 triples in a season, following Joe DiMaggio (1950), Mickey Mantle (1955), Jim Rice (1977 and 1978), Nomar Garciaparra (1997) and Curtis Granderson (2011).

On defense, Witt Jr. in 2023 recorded 14 Outs Above Average, a range-based metric of fielding skill presented by Statcast, which ranked him 1st among American League shortstops and 3rd among all positions in the American League, trailing only Cleveland’s second baseman Andrés Giménez (18) and teammate Maikel Garcia (15).

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