Did you know the Royals signed Gil Meche to a $55 million dollar contract this winter? An under the radar and little-remarked upon signing, the Meche deal is the kind of fringe move that won't get talked about on the message boards, call-in shows and on Baseball Tonight. However, its those very moves at the margin that define a GM's philosophy, his core beliefs regarding team building and the content of his soul. Anyone can sign Arod -- a despicable choke-artist who along with Barry Bonds single-handedly destroyed our national innocence -- for $252 million, but not everyone can find a league-average starter for $55 million.
In honor of Jerry Crasnick breaking the news of the Meche signing this weekend, we present to you FIVE FUN FACTS ABOUT GIL MECHE.
Learning that he's signed for $55 million was a freebie.
Five Fun Facts About Gil Meche
1. Gil Meche (its a near-lock that Bell will call him "Mechey") was born on September 8, 1978 in Lafayette, Louisiana. Counting Meche, eleven citoyens of Lafayette have made the Major Leagues, all debuting in the 1970s or later. Ron Guidry aka "Louisiana Lightning", perhaps the most famous baseballer from the state hails from Lafayette, as does our beloved Gabor Paul Bako.
2. A veteran of the AL West, Meche has faced Garret Anderson (42 PAs), Eric Chavez (38 PAs) and Darin Erstad (34 PAs) more than anyone else in his career. Amongst players who have faced Meche at least 20 times, the three highest OPSs are: Alex Rodriguez (.400/.440/1.050 in 25 PAs), Rafael Palmeiro (.333/.500/.889 in 24 PAs, a fellow destroyer of our virgin national innocence) and Brian Roberts (.522/.542/.826 in 24 PAs).
3. File this under "Nooooooooo!!!". Angel Berroa has the highest OPS against Meche of any Royal (min 15 PAs). Angel posted a .353/.353/.471 against Meche over 17 battles. No word on the number of total pitches thrown in those 17 confrontations, but Vegas has opened the over/under at 30. Who will Angel have to kick around in Seattle now?
4. Meche leaves the Mariners as possibly the greatest pitcher ever to wear blue and yellow, or green and grey, or blue and green, or blue and silver, or black and teal or whatever the Mariners colors really are in a platonic sense. He's 8th All-Time in Mariner Wins (55), 31st in Complete Games (4) and 32nd in ERA (4.65). If only the immortal Jeff Fassero had allowed a few more runs back in the late 1990s, Meche would be juuuuust outside the Top 30!
5. On February 17th, 2007 world history changed forever, as Gil Meche broke down the barrier between athletes and interesting/surprising quotes that had existed for over 85 years. His stunning comments appear below:
"I've had some ups and downs the past six years," he said, "but I know what I am capable of doing. I know the potential I have."
"I read some of the things people said after I signed the contract and people have their opinions. It didn't make me mad as much as it made me more determined to do well."
"I know what I'm capable of doing, and although I haven't done it consistently over six months, I've pitched some good games in the past. Hopefully this year I will stay consistent."
"I hope to get off to a good start and have it rub off on other guys in the rotation."
"I want to help get this team off in the right direction and prove to the front office that they made a good decision in going out there, getting me, and putting some of their faith in my hands to help this team win."
He's confident? He's ready to prove the doubters wrong? He wants to get off to a good start? Incroyable! Formidable! Its so refreshing to hear comments like this, although it does make me collapse in self-loathing that I don't have a press pass so I could gather them firsthand.
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