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Josh Willingham to retire

The long-time slugger got to finally taste post-season action in his final season.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick is reporting that Royals outfielder Josh Willingham has decided to retire.

"After praying on my decision many times and talking to my wife, my father and ex-players who have gone through the same process toward the end of their careers, I have decided to retire,'' Willingham said.

"I felt like it wouldn't be fair to myself, and more importantly to the team that was paying me a lot of money to perform at a high level, if there was a chance my dedication would waver -- particularly as the season got longer. I'm honored to have played for as many years as I have, and I feel even luckier to walk away on my own terms instead of having the decision made for me.''

The 35-year old Willingham was still a productive player in his final season, hitting .215/.346/.397 with 14 HR 40 RBI and 0.9 rWAR in 2014 between the Twins and Royals. The Royals acquired Willingham from Minnesota for pitcher Jason Adam back on August 11 and he hit .233/.349/.384 in 86 plate appearances, while struggling with back issues.

Willingham got to enjoy his first taste of the post-season with the Royals, batting four times, including a key hit against Oakland in the Wild Card game.

Willingham is an eleven year veteran with the Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Twins, and Royals . He retires with a line of 253/.358/.465 with 988 hits and 195 home runs. His best year was in 2012 with the Twins, when he hit .260/.366/.524 with 35 HR 110 RBI and won a Silver Slugger Award.

Willingham was in the final year of a three year-$21 million deal. He likely could have fetched a decent one-year deal from a team looking for a designated hitter, possibly even from the Royals but will instead hang up his cleats on a high note.