Gil Meche to the Royals
5 years/$55 million. Let's get this out of the way: the Royals way overpaid. No if's, and's or but's. But this is our "statement". Would I have chosen this? No. But here we are. I'm actually excited. It's December: we can look at Meche and see what we want to see. Let's look at the good and bad of this move:
Let's start with the negative:
Meche has had major shoulder problems
In the 4 years since his shoulder surgery, he's never had an OPS+ of over 100 (average)
He had a 5.14 ERA and 1.60 WHIP on the road last year
He's never pitched more than 200 innings
The Royals gave more money to Meche than Jason Schmidt got. Almost as much as Chris Carpenter got.
Meche is only 28--pretty young for a FA pitcher.
Meche's raw stuff is very good.
Meche's innings pitched have increased each of the past 3 years as he's gotten stronger from his shoulder problems
His strikeout rate spiked last year and he K'ed over 7/9ip-a promising sign for future results.
Meche had a bad 5 game stretch at the end of July/beginning of August. Take out that stretch and his numbers are:
170ip 151h 64w 139k 3.76 ERA 1.26 WHIP.
3 of those starts were on the road (including a horrific start in Texas where he only pitched 1 inning). He skipped a start after that stretch and pitched better the rest of the season. There are probably a lot of average pitchers who could take a 5 game stretch and look a lot better.
Dayton Moore knows all this stuff. He was willing to pony up David Glass's money anyway. Perhaps he believes that with the right coaching Meche will turn into a sub 4.00 ERA pitcher. We will have to way 4 months to find out.
I think we may very well look back at this move as the defining moment of Dayton's era. It could be the day we rue as when we trapped ourself into an awful contract because we were desperate. Or it could be the bold stroke that pushes the Royals out of being known as a punching bag in baseball--the day the Royals became winners again. Today we are left to wonder and hope. And right now hope seems worth $55 million.