Former Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland has officially announced his retirement from baseball, he told WEEI’s Rob Bradford on Tuesday.
“I’m retired,” Moreland said. “There you go. I’m done. I’m done playing. I’ve enjoyed the family life too much in the last year and a half. Being there for my kids. It got to the point where they were away from me during the season and in school. I wanted to be there for them, and be around the family more.”
Moreland, 37, spent parts of four seasons (2017-2020) with the Red Sox after originally signing with the club as a free agent in November 2016. Coming off a Gold Glove Award-winning campaign with Texas, Moreland quickly endeared himself to fans in Boston and earned the nickname “Mitchy Two Bags” thanks to his propensity for hitting doubles.
After a solid debut season with the Red Sox, Moreland was named an All-Star for the first time in his career in 2018. He then helped Boston win the World Series that October, most notably hitting a pinch-hit, three-run home run in the seventh inning of Game 4 against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Red Sox went on win that game by a final score of 9-6 and ultimately won the series in five games.
All told, Moreland batted .251/.332/.471 with 78 doubles, 64 home runs, 226 RBIs, and 321 runs scored in 386 games (1,449 plate appearances) with the Red Sox. The left-handed hitter was dealt to the Padres at the 2020 trade deadline for prospects Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario. He then spent the 2021 season with the Athletics, though he was limited to just 81 games in Oakland due to three separate stints on the injured list.
Moreland did not play at all in 2022 and had yet to sign with a team for the 2023 season, which made his retirement more of a formality than anything. That being said, the Mississippi State product hangs up his cleats after 12 big-league seasons in which he slashed .251/.318/.446 with 186 homers and 618 RBIs in 1,260 career games (4,536 plate appearances) between the Rangers, Red Sox, Padres, and Athletics.
Though his playing days may now be behind him, Moreland has been at Red Sox camp in Fort Myers this week serving as a guest instructor, joining other former players like David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Mike Lowell in doing so. The opportunity was presented to him by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and manager Alex Cora.
“I had a couple conversations with AC, Chaim in the offseason. It’s kind of been in the works,” said Moreland. “They asked me if I would be interested in coming into camp for a few days, being around the guys, and just kind of take it in and see this side of it a little bit too. I thought it was a great opportunity. I obviously loved my time here, loved the group. It was great to see everybody. I jumped on the opportunity, and happy to be here.
“I knew I was going to like it,” he added. “I was excited about the opportunity to come down and just to be around the guys, see some of the familiar faces that I hadn’t seen in a while. Just catch up, really. So I’ve talked to a few of the guys, met some new people, and just trying to enjoy my time while I’m here.”
Moreland becomes the latest member of the 2018 Red Sox to retire, joining the likes of Pedroia, Rick Porcello, Brock Holt, Steve Pearce, Eduardo Nunez, Ian Kinsler, and David Price. Only three players from that historically dominant team (Chris Sale, Ryan Brasier, and Rafael Devers) are still with Boston. Moreland will have the chance to reconnect with each of them and make new connections while he is at camp.
“I’m here strictly to hang out with the guys, and if I can help someone along the way, and if anybody has any questions for me, I’d obviously be an open book for them,” he said. “Just catch up with old teammates and staff, and help any way I can.”
(Picture of Mitch Moreland: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)