Royals agree with reliever Will Smith on $5 million deal for 2024, AP source says

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Left-handed reliever Will Smith, who has won World Series rings the past three seasons with three different organizations, has agreed to a $5 million contract with the Royals, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Smith can also make a certain amount of performance bonuses, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal for the 2024 season was pending a physical.

Smith began his big league career as a starter in Kansas City, then transition to the bullpen, where he has had the majority of his success. He has pitched for five other clubs, going to the All-Star Game with the Giants in 2019 and then winning the World Series in 2021 with the Braves, the following year with the Astros and this past season with the Rangers.

Smith allowed four runs in five appearances for Texas this past postseason, including two in the World Series against Arizona.

The Royals had one of the worst pitching staffs in the majors last season, and their bullpen was particularly awful, compiling a 5.23 ERA that was better than only one other team. The problems with relievers was exacerbated when the Royals traded Aroldis Chapman and Scott Barlow, their two best high-leverage pitchers, prior to the deadline.

The Royals began to rebuild their bullpen last month, when they acquired Nick Anderson from the Braves for cash. Anderson had a 3.06 ERA over 35 1/3 innings for Atlanta, though he was shut down for the second half of the season with a shoulder strain.

Kansas City has been relatively quiet in free agency, despite glaring needs elsewhere on the roster. The biggest one now is the rotation, where the Royals have little behind Cole Ragans, Brady Singer and Jordan Lyles.





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