Morales to join fellow Bird Tomscha in Twins organization
Former Canaries catcher Roy Morales (Canaries file)
Roy Morales will never forget the call.
Three weeks into the pandemic-shortened 2020 American Association season, the then-Winnipeg Goldeyes catcher picked up the phone to hear Sioux Falls Canaries manager Mike Meyer tell him, "we need you."
The Birds were off to a hot start but Meyer knew they needed a steady, veteran everyday catcher to reach the postseason for the first time in 10 years, and Meyer pulled the trigger on a trade.
"At that moment I knew I was going to be a part of a special team," Morales said.
The rest was history as Morales was a major force in the Canaries' run to the American Association Finals.
"I am more than grateful for the opportunity (the Canaries) provided me," Morales said. "I enjoyed every second that I was on the team and my teammates know it."
Friday, the Puerto Rico native got another call he'll never forget -- from the Minnesota Twins, who purchased his rights from the Birds, making the 25-year-old the second 2020 Canary in three days to join that organization, along with All-Star third baseman Damek Tomscha.
"It's a great thing when your players are signed by an organization, and to have two players within a week get signed is pretty special," Meyer said. "I'm so pumped for Roy, and I think it's pretty cool he will be playing with Damek in the Twins organization.
A 12th-round MLB Draft pick by the Marlins in 2014, Morales spent five seasons in that club's farm system -- reaching the high-A level -- then signed with the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association in 2019, batting .310 with 25 RBI in 60 games. With the T-Bones deciding not to compete in the 2020 season due to the pandemic, the Goldeyes picked up Morales to start the season.
After 19 games, Morales got that call from Meyer and was traded to Sioux Falls. In 26 contests wearing bright yellow and blue, Morales hit .330 with a .387 OBP and .830 OPS -- impressive numbers for a catcher. But his best contribution was his positive and confident nature with his pitchers, and his behind-the-plate wizardry.
"He has an ability to call a game and present pitches to the umpire very well, which gains more strikes for the pitcher," Meyer said. "Basically, he makes all the pitches look like strikes."
Morales will take those talents to the Twins as he takes a major step toward a big league call-up.
"Roy is a tremendous young man that plays the game the right way and I really believe he could catch on in the big leagues someday. I wish nothing but the best for the two of them."