The Royals traded Merrifield, who general manager J.J. Picollo described as having been “a staple in this organization for a really long time,” to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday in the final hour of the MLB trade deadline.
Merrifield did not speak to reporters in Chicago, where the Royals were when the trade happened, and he declined comment through the Royals communications staff at the ballpark that night.
After Tuesday’s game, several Royals players described it as emotional to see Merrifield as well as backup catcher Cam Gallagher traded away.
However, Merrifield took to Twitter and Instagram to deliver a message addressed to “Kansas City” a little more than 24 hours after the trade.
“For the past seven years, you have been my home,” the note read. “For the past 13 years, the Royals organization has been the only baseball family I’ve known. Like all great relationships, we shared the highs and lows together. The good times, and the not so good times. That’s why I believe my love for you is, and will always be, so strong.
“This is where I turned my dream into reality, where I got my first hit, hit my first home run, and found many brothers for life. I’ll never be able to fully put into words what you’ve meant to me, nor will I ever be able to repay what you’ve given me. I became a man in Kansas City.
“Just know that from the time I pulled into the parking lot each day, until the very last out, I always gave everything I had. I cherished every moment. Every single one.”
Merrifield was a ninth-round draft pick of the Royals out of the University of South Carolina in 2010. He spent his entire professional career in the Royals organization and became a two-time All-Star.
He led the majors in hits twice during his tenure with the Royals, and also led the majors in stolen bases.
Merrifield, 33, surpassed 1,000 career hits on Saturday in New York.
Merrifield is expected to join the Blue Jays in Minnesota for a series against the Twins on Thursday, according to Sportsnet baseball columnist Shi Davidi.