Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
Before you applaud Gil Meche, remember that he made $43 million over the last four years for a 29-39 record and an ERA over 5.00 in each of the last two seasons.Sure some advanced metrics say he outperformed his salary already, but realistically his ERA is about the same as Joe Blanton, who signed a three-year, $24 million deal last winter.
There’s something a little romantic about Meche’s comments in today’s New York Times in which he explained that he couldn’t bring himself to accept any more of the Royals’ money given his recent performance for the team.
But Meche has made plenty of money, so forfeiting $12 million this year isn’t such a big deal for him. The fact that he’s disappointed in himself and feels like he isn’t owning up to his end of the bargain may not be a unique stance in sports, but while Meche certainly isn’t alone in the “under performing athletes” club, he’s the only guy we’re aware of that has turned down such a significant amount of money.
The truth is that Meche’s disappointment in himself isn’t the real reason he retired. He was facing his third shoulder surgery, and a long road of rehab, and his love of the game had clearly eroded. If Meche’s disappointment in his game was his sole reason for retiring, the real way to handle it would be to work his butt off, accept some kind of pay cut, and try to revamp his game. But Meche turned his back on $12 million, because he no longer had the desire to put that much effort into the game.
Nine guys out of 10 might “tough it out” for one more season to pocket that check, but Meche has enough dough that he doesn’t need to do that.
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