Kendrys Morales has officially announced his retirement after 13 seasons in the big leagues, in an interview with Marly Rivera of ESPN Digital. Morales spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons with the Royals, hitting .277/.344/.476 with 52 home runs over those two seasons. In addition to the Royals, Morales played for the Angels, Mariners, Twins, Blue Jays, Mariners, and Yankees. He collected 1,289 hits in his career and won the Silver Slugger Award in 2015 with the Royals. His 213 home runs are the 24th-most by a switch-hitter in baseball history.
Morales was a star player in Cuba, but tried to defect 12 times before he was finally successful in 2004. He signed with the Angels and burst onto the scene in 2009 when he smashed 34 home runs and hit .306/.355/.569, finishing fifth in MVP balloting.
The Royals signed him before the 2015 season to a two-year, $17 million deal with $1.5 million in performance bonuses. He primarily hit fifth on that championship-winning club, tying for the club lead in home runs with 22 and leading the team in RBI with 106. He led the team is slugging at .485 and his .847 OPS was tops among all starters. He had a huge series in the ALDS against the Astros, batting .263/.300/.737 including the ball that skipped past Carlos Correa during the comeback in Game 4. He also hit three home runs, including a three-run home run in Game 5 to seal the series.
The 36-year old Morales cited spending more time with his family, but also lamented that Major League Baseball had changed, and was no longer valuing veterans like him. Morales hit just .194/.313/.253 in 53 games last year between the Athletics and Yankees, and was released by New York in July.
He spent just two seasons in Kansas City, but Kendrys Morales will always be remembered as Forever Royal. Best of luck, Kendrys.