Bobby Witt Jr., who had 30 home runs and 49 steals last season, has agreed to an 11-year deal worth $288.7 million, with a three-year team option with the Royals. Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

The Kansas City Royals agreed with shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. on an 11-year deal worth more than $288.7 million guaranteed, two people familiar with the contract told The Associated Press on Monday, locking up one of baseball’s young stars as the club tries to turn around its fortunes and persuade a weary fanbase to invest in a new stadium.

The deal includes a three-year, $89 million team option that would drive the value to more than $377 million and keep Witt in Kansas City through the 2037 season, according to the people, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the financial terms were not disclosed. Witt’s guaranteed salary makes it the 16th-largest current deal in Major League Baseball and second-biggest pre-arbitration agreement behind the 14-year, $340 million contract the Padres gave Fernando Tatis Jr. last April.

The Royals planned a Tuesday news conference to discuss the longest and richest deal in club history.

It includes a signing bonus riffing off Witt’s lucky jersey No. 7 of $7,777,777, payable in seven installments, with the first due within 60 days of the contract’s approval by the commissioner’s office. Witt will receive $2 million this year, then in the three years he would have been eligible for arbitration: $7 million in 2025, $13 million in 2026 and $19 million in 2027.

Witt will earn $30 million in 2028, the first year after he would have been eligible for free agency, and $35 million each in 2029 and ’30. He has four player options at $35 million annually from 2031-34, then the Royals have their three-year team option that would pay $33 million in 2035 and $28 million each in 2036 and ’37.

If all the options are included, Witt would be 37 by the time the contract expires.


“From the moment I was drafted in 2019, the entire Royals organization and fans have treated me and my family like their own,” Witt said in a statement issued by the club. “This city and this team have felt like home since Day 1.”

The Royals selected Witt second overall in the 2019 amateur draft, and he rocketed through the minors while winning just about every accolade possible. He made his big league debut in 2022, hitting 20 homers and stealing 30 bases, then had a breakthrough sophomore season in which he became the only Royals player in the 30-30 club.

The 23-year-old Witt finished with 30 homers and 49 steals, making him the only player in major league history with 50 homers and 79 steals through their first two seasons. Alex Rodriguez in 1998 is the only other American League shortstop with a 30-30 season by their age, putting the son of longtime big leaguer Bobby Witt in some select company.

YANKEES-DODGERS TRADE: The Yankees acquired a left-handed reliever from the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second time this offseason, getting Caleb Ferguson in exchange for pitchers Matt Gage and Christian Zazueta.

The 27-year-old Ferguson was 7-4 with three saves and a 3.43 ERA in 61 relief appearances and seven starts last year, setting career highs with 60 1/3 innings and 70 strikeouts while walking 23. His fastball average velocity dropped 1.9 mph to 92.9 mph.

New York obtained 28-year-old Victor González from the Dodgers in December. The Yankees were seeking lefties after Wandy Peralta became a free agent.

Ferguson was 18-9 with five saves and a 3.43 ERA for the Dodgers from 2018-23. He had Tommy John surgery in September 2020 and returned to the mound in 2022, when he rejoined the Dodgers in mid-May and went 1-0 with a 1.82 ERA in 36 relief appearances and one start.

• The Dodgers and veteran reliever Ryan Brasier agreed to a two-year, $9-million contract, according to a person with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly, to keep the right-hander in Los Angeles after his resurgent performance last season.

Brasier, 36, returns to the Dodgers after emerging as the club’s top set-up man over the second half of last season. Originally an Angels draft pick who spent most of his seven-year MLB career with the Boston Red Sox, Brasier was released by Boston last May following early-season struggles and signed with the Dodgers in June.

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