Kansas City pitcher Gil Meche retires at 32, with $12.4 million left on contract | Baseball
Kansas City pitcher Gil Meche — a former Mariner — retired at age 32, walking away from $12.4 million rather than face shoulder surgery that could have ended his season before it started.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pitcher Gil Meche of the Kansas City Royals retired Tuesday at age 32, walking away from $12.4 million rather than face shoulder surgery that could have ended his season before it started.
Meche was drafted by the Mariners in 1996 and was 55-44 with a 4.65 earned-run average in six seasons for Seattle before signing a $55 million, five-year contract with Kansas City after the 2006 season.
The right-hander had shoulder problems last year and was 0-5 with a 5.69 ERA. Although there was a chance Meche could undergo surgery and come back in the bullpen, there also was no guarantee he would be able to pitch this year.
"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," Meche said. "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."
Meche surprised people.
"The first comment when they heard this come from my mouth was, '$12 million,' " he said. "My first reaction is, I'm not a guy who's going to sit here and play baseball for the money. I know you hear a lot of athletes say, 'It's not for the money, it's not for the money.' Actually, it wasn't.
"And hopefully this does show a lot of guys do feel the same as I do."
Meche exits with an 84-83 career record and 4.49 ERA.
Slugger Fielder, Brewers settle
NEW YORK — Slugger Prince Fielder, 26, agreed to a $15.5 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers in the largest one-year deal for a player not yet eligible for free agency.
On a day when 67 of the 119 players who filed for salary arbitration reached agreements, a mere 37 swapped proposed-salary figures with their teams and three of those already have agreements.
Boston and closer Jonathan Papelbon settled at $12 million, a person familiar with the deal said.
• Of those swapping figures, outfielder Josh Hamilton, the AL most valuable player, asked Texas for $12 million and was offered $8.7 million; major-league homers leader Jose Bautista asked Toronto for $10.5 million and was offered $7.6 million; and Houston Astros pitcher Wandy Rodriguez asked for $10.25 million and was offered $8 million.
• Arizona signed shortstop Stephen Drew to a two-year, $13.75 million deal. The Diamondbacks agreed to a one-year, $5.5 million contract with pitcher Joe Saunders and gave free-agent utility man Willie Bloomquist — a former Mariner who ended last season with Cincinnati — a one-year, reported $900,000 deal with a mutual option for 2012.
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