I was rambling around the Interwebs a few days ago and stumbled upon the innocuous news that Gil Meche, the Royals starter, was retiring. My first thought was “hey, wasn’t he the guy the Royals gave that big contract to a few years ago.” And indeed he was, but something else about the story caught my eye.
The Royals signed Meche to a wildly overpriced 5-year $55 million deal heading into the 2007 season. After a couple decent years then an eventual decline leading to a year-threatening shoulder injury, Meche decided to retire this offseason. That is quite run of the mill, but what stood out to me is the decision making that led him to this process.
I didn’t want to go try it again for another season and be the guy making $12 million doing absolutely nothing to help their team. Yeah, a lot of people might think I’m crazy for not trying to play and making this amount of money. I don’t think I’m ever going to regret it.
In this era of players taking millions of dollars to play a sport at the height of their abilities and then openly not trying, this was an obviously sad but refreshing turn of events to see Meche not . No one would have bat an eye if Meche took the shoulder surgery and spent much of the year rehabbing and maybe coming out of the pen for an out-of-it Royals while cashing some nice checks.
Being a guy who likes to see what good there is left in the world, I see what good there is in having a player who has realized he might not be living up to the contract that he has signed and making up for it. It might be asinine to commend a guy for not taking $12 million more after being paid millions previously but this is a very rare instance that is not seen in the world of professional athletics today.
I know this is not Reds-centric but is something I have been wanting to share for a few days now since it probably didn’t get the coverage it was due.