May 26, 2024

Royals Sign Reliever Will Smith to $5 Million Deal for 2024

In a transformative move, the Kansas City Royals have sealed a deal for a one-year, $5 million contract with the skilled left-handed pitcher, Will Smith. The Royals are optimistic that Smith’s exceptional abilities will address their bullpen challenges from the prior season. Boasting three World Series rings earned with different teams, Smith brings a wealth of experience and a history of success to the squad. Beyond his base salary, Smith has the chance to earn an additional $1 million through performance bonuses tied to the number of games he pitches.

A Confirmed Closer

The Royals were particularly drawn to Smith for his proficiency in closing out games, a skill set crucial for finishing matches. General Manager J.J. Picollo stressed that Smith will have ample opportunities to showcase his closing prowess. Smith has consistently excelled in this role, achieving at least 40 saves in each of the last three seasons. His success in save situations is evident, with 34 saves during his All-Star season with the San Francisco Giants, 37 saves with the Atlanta Braves in 2021, and 22 saves for the Texas Rangers last season.


Smith’s return to the Royals holds sentimental value as it marks a homecoming to the team that gave him his start in the big leagues and where he transitioned to the bullpen, setting the stage for his successful career across five different organizations. Representing the San Francisco Giants in the 2019 All-Star Game, winning the World Series with the Atlanta Braves in 2021, achieving the same feat with the Houston Astros, and most recently securing another World Series victory with the Texas Rangers, Smith has left his mark in each stint.

The Excitement of Closing Games

For Smith, closing games provides a unique thrill and sense of purpose. He relishes the pressure and excitement of entering the ninth inning with a lead, bearing the responsibility to secure a win. Describing the feeling as “so black and white,” Smith’s ability to thrive under such pressure is a valuable asset for the Royals, who are eager to elevate their bullpen performance.

Fortifying the Royals’ Bullpen

The Royals’ pitching struggles, especially in the bullpen, were evident in the previous season with a bullpen ERA of 5.23, prompting the recognition of the need for reinforcements. Alongside signing Will Smith, the Royals acquired Nick Anderson from the Atlanta Braves, adding further depth to the bullpen. Yet, their efforts extend beyond the bullpen, with a focus on fortifying their starting rotation. The team aims to address the lack of established starters beyond Cole Ragans, Brady Singer, and Jordan Lyles. Notable free-agent pitchers Lucas Giolito and Marcus Stroman have captured the Royals’ interest as potential enhancements. With the recent high-profile deal of Shohei Ohtani, the market for top pitchers is anticipated to intensify, prompting the Royals to expect a flurry of activity in the coming weeks, ideally settling numerous deals before Christmas.


The acquisition of Will Smith marks a significant stride for the Royals in bolstering their bullpen and overall pitching performance. Smith’s established track record as a closer, coupled with his diverse experience and success across different teams, positions him as a valuable addition to the squad. The Royals’ commitment to enhancing both their bullpen and starting rotation underscores their dedication to constructing a competitive roster. As the MLB offseason progresses, fans eagerly anticipate further developments and potential signings that could enhance the team’s outlook for the upcoming season.

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