The Royals caught a $12MM break yesterday and Dayton Moore has never seen anything like it. The Kansas City GM says he didn't expect Gil Meche to retire, since the right-hander had the option of collecting checks all season long. Instead, he forfeited the money, called it a career and provded his former team with unexpected financial flexibility.
“Gil had every right to finish off the final year of this contract and be compensated and he chose not to,” Moore said yesterday on a conference call with reporters.
The five-year, $55MM deal that Meche signed before the 2007 season looked good for the first two years and awful for the next two. Meche logged over 200 innings in 2007 and '08, posting a 3.82 ERA and leading the league in starts both seasons. But shoulder and back injuries limited his effectiveness and availability in 2009-10. At 32, the ten-year veteran is calling it a career.
Moore says he doesn't consider the signing a mistake, since Meche took the ball when healthy and helped ease Zack Greinke into major league stardom. But the caretaker of the best farm system in baseball isn't about to compromise his prospects' development with more long-term free agent deals.
“We’re not going to do anything with long-term contracts that’s going to restrict their transition to the major leagues,” Moore said.
There will come a time when the Royals look to complement their homegrown core with free agent pieces, Moore said. The team does have $12MM more than expected, but Moore says he doesn't plan to add any expensive pieces soon.