The hardest word to say
Royals GM deserves apology for my Meche bashing
Posted: Monday May 14, 2007 11:35AM; Updated: Monday May 14, 2007 3:08PM
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Last week I did something I don't like to do. I apologized. And, worse yet, I admitted I was wrong.
And man, was I ever.
I know I wasn't alone in laughing aloud when the notorious nickel-squeezing Royals paid $55 million for Gil Meche. But I laughed the loudest.
I speculated that Royals GM Dayton Moore got confused during negotiations, that whenever Meche's people were calling Moore by his last name, he mistakenly assumed they wanted more money. And that eventually they got to the $55 million by giving Meche either a million dollars for every win he had in his career, or to match his uniform number, or to memorialize the fact he's had a 5-plus ERA two of the past three years.
I wrote that Gil Meche was "French for flushing money down the toilet."
Meche currently is tied for second in the American League with 54 1/3 innings and ranks third in ERA with a 2.15 mark. He has a three-to-one strikeout ratio (42 strikeouts, 14 walks). In five of eight starts, he has allowed no earned runs or one earned run. He's 3-1. But if his team were better, he might be 7-1.
Today I think Gil Meche is French for "sound investment."
So I called Moore last week because he deserved credit for having the stones to make such an ultrabold signing within his first year on the job. At the very least, he deserved an apology.
And wouldn't you know it? Moore is not only a sound investor, he's one heck of a nice fellow. He wasn't about to gloat about the move. "It's a good month," he said.
He also said I didn't need to apologize. He said he understands it's my job to give my opinion. (Of course, he may not have read all the nasty things I wrote.)
The first thing I have to give Moore credit for is getting the Glass family to pony up that kind of cash in the first place. These are the very owners who thought they were going hog wild when they offered Kenny Rogers $6 million -- over two years, no less -- a couple winters ago. The very same fellows who used to run all their potential signings past the MLB home office before making them (I am not kidding about that, MLB had what amounted to veto power over David Glass' deals).
But mostly, I have to give Moore credit for picking exactly the right guy on which to spend that $55 million. Like most baseball followers, I didn't know too much about Meche. Since he played in Seattle, I rarely saw him play, so I relied on his mediocre statistics and word of mouth that said Meche was your classic underachiever.
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