KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two-and-a-half months in Kansas City changed the course of Jeremy Guthrie's career.
Now, he's going to try to keep it going for three more years.
The 33-year-old right-hander agreed to a $25 million, three-year deal to return to the Royals on Tuesday, solidifying another piece for what should be a retooled starting rotation next season.
Guthrie, a 1997 Ashland High School graduate, will make $5 million in 2013, $11 million in 2014 and $9 million in 2015.
"Jeremy pitched very well for us," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said on a conference call shortly after announcing the deal. "He's someone we liked a great deal. We feel he can give us innings, give us consistency and everything you want in a starting pitcher."
Guthrie struggled the first half of last season, going 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA for the Colorado Rockies, before getting traded to Kansas City for another struggling starter, Jonathan Sanchez.
Guthrie flourished at pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium, rediscovering the stuff that twice allowed him to win 17 games in a season for Baltimore. He went 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts for the Royals, and the team went 10-4 in his starts, winning 10 of the final 11 outings.
Guthrie was 4-0 with a 2.17 ERA in his final 11 appearances.
"The way I pitched in Kansas City was much more indicative of how I've pitched over the course of my career," said Guthrie, who is 55-77 with a 4.28 ERA over parts of nine seasons.
"I believe in myself," he said. "I made a couple of minor adjustments. I don't think I changed everything. Obviously that's where it starts, and after that, it was just getting that confidence and getting people out and believing I could do it again after struggling so bad."
Both sides expressed interest in a new contract after Guthrie became a free agent, but talks didn't intensify until the last few weeks. Guthrie was overseas this weekend when his agent called to let him know that the Royals had extended an offer that he thought was acceptable.
He flew back to Kansas City to undergo a physical and sign the contract.
"I'm happy to be part of it, and I'm happy they wanted me as one of their pitchers going forward," said Guthrie, who earned $8.2 million last season. "This gives them the ability to focus all their energies on getting another starting pitcher.
— Dave Skretta, Associated Press