There is at least one free-agent first baseman with a strong desire to play for the Royals.
Logan Morrison, a Kansas City native coming off a career season in Tampa Bay, said Thursday in an interview with MLB Network Radio that playing for his hometown Royals would be “fulfilling a dream.”
Morrison, 30, was born in Kansas City and raised in the area, spending two years at Blue Valley West before finishing high school in New Orleans. He hit a career-high 38 homers while batting .246 with a .353 on-base percentage for the Rays in 2017.
“That would be pretty cool,” Morrison told MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, when asked about the possibility of playing in Kansas City. “I think it just — that’d be a dream come true. My dad taking me to Kauffman Stadium when I was little. That’s kind of where I saw, for the first time, what I wanted to do in life. And to be able to put that uniform on everyday would be a huge, huge accomplishment for me. It would be fulfilling a dream.”
Morrison’s father, Tom, a former KU football player, died in late 2010 after a lengthy battle with cancer, but not before encouraging his son to model his game after Royals great George Brett and witnessing him collect a major-league hit in person. Morrison said his grandmother still lives in the Kansas City area.
Morrison is also hitting free agency at the right time. His performance in 2017 represented the best offensive season of his career after debuting with the Florida Marlins in 2010 and playing for the Seattle Mariners in 2014 and 2015.
Morrison hit just .238 with 14 homers for the Rays in 2016 before signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract with Tampa Bay last offseason. He responded by posting an adjusted OPS of 135, smashing his previous career high of 116 in 2011.
In addition to the family ties, Morrison has other connections to his hometown. After graduating high school, he returned to the area to play baseball at Maple Woods Community College, the same school that produced Albert Pujols. Morrison also took hitting lessons from former Royal Kevin Seitzer and counts Brett as one of his favorite players.
The Royals, of course, have their own free-agent first baseman in Eric Hosmer, who is expected to be one of the most highly compensated players on the market. The Royals are expected to pursue Hosmer this winter, though a reunion could depend on the market price.
Could Morrison be a cheaper alternative if Hosmer signs elsewhere?