What’s your best Gil Meche memory? Ok, “best” might not be the ideal world since Meche could be agonizingly frustrating during his time with the Mariners. There was little question about his talent. But he just could never seem to put it together. He would look fantastic one game, and then he would fall apart in his next start. I remember sitting there watching the game in 2006 where he gave up nine runs in less than two innings of work to the Texas Rangers.
And of course there were the shoulder problems. When I was an intern, I remember talking to Meche in Tacoma where he was trying to come back from “dead arm.” It wasn’t a great interview. He didn’t know what was wrong, and I was too green to get much out of him.
Then Meche – a mediocre pitcher to be certain – was rewarded by GM Dayton Moore and the KC Royals with a 5-year, $55 million contract. It raised more than a few eyebrows.
I will never forget what Larry wrote in a chart of players that had come and gone under the Bill Bavasi era.
Gil Meche, RHP Elected free agency 10-28-06.
Skinny: Fifty-five career wins, a $55 million contract. Yeah, life’s fair.
But most of you know, Meche won’t collect all of that $55 million. He elected to retire instead of gutting out another injury plagued year. There has been much speculation and discussion as to Meche’s motives. Well, the New York Times excellent baseball writer and one time Seattle PI writer Tyler Kepner wrote a solid story on Meche’s retirement.
But the case of Gil Meche is rare for an entirely different reason. Meche, a 32-year-old right-handed pitcher, had a contract that called for a $12 million salary in 2011. Yet he will not report to Surprise, Ariz., with the rest of the Kansas City Royals for spring training next month. He will not have surgery to repair his chronically aching right shoulder. He will not pitch in relief, where the workload is lighter.
Meche retired last week, which means he will not be paid at all.
Some of the quotes from Meche about his reasoning were interesting, enlightening and refreshing.
“When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” Meche said this week, by phone from Lafayette, La. “Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.”