In this space, I have ranted at length (most specifically here) about the abuse and misuse of Gil Meche by the broken-hooked Trey Hillman. I shall refrain from doing this again today.
For roughly two-and-a-half seasons, watching Gil Meche pitch brought me joy. Over the course of his first 82 starts as a Royal, Meche managed a 3.74 ERA with 406/166 K/BB over 510.2 IP. His BABIP of .303 over this span of time points toward much of his performance being on the level. As is one of the risks in signing pitchers to long-term contracts, Meche's surgically repaired shoulder began to fail him in 2009, for arguably preventable reasons. During that stretch, though, there was a reason to watch the Royals when he set foot on the mound. In 2008 and the first half of 2009, this meant that casual Royals fans having cause to watch 40% of the time. We have not been able to say that often since The Strike.
*His having given back $12.4 of the $55 million he initially signed essentially makes it a four-year $42.6 million deal. While most of the value of the contract was tied into his first two seasons, the FanGraphs' Dollar Value (based on what that performance would yield on the Free Agent market) for this time in a Royals' uniform was $47 million. Say what you will about luck and Meche bailing the Royals out, in the end he was worth every dime he got, even if it wasn't spread out evenly over the four years.
Oh, who am I kidding? If this were the case, Jason Kendall would give each and every fan who attended a Royals game a check in the amount of a refund for having to watch him call awful games--
No, seriously, hang another curve, Zack. It'll totally work. Do you see how gritty I am? My fucking dad played ball. I'll eat your face. *juts chin out further and looks more dickish*--and do nothing with his bat while hitting second in the order.
Regardless, Gil Meche = Stand-Up Dude.
His announcement comes on the heels of the two FA pitcher signings last week. Now the Royals simply need to designate one player on the 40-man for assignment. To me, this would figure to be Kevin Pucetas, who seems like the least likely success story amongst the unlikely success stories filling out the back-end of the 40-man. It also increases the likelihood that one of the young relievers (Tim Collins, Louis Coleman, Jeremy Jeffress, etc.) makes the 25-man roster coming out of Spring Training, giving us hope that we can glimpse a brighter future any day of the week from Opening Day.
While Meche wasn't here for when the winning started (unless you wanted to argue that 75 wins signaled a paradigm shift in Royals culture), he didn't stand in the way when he couldn't toe the rubber. There's a certain meth-cook's brother who could learn a thing or two from him.