In an announcement that truly came out of left field, Kansas City Royals right-hander Gil Meche has announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. Via MLB Trade Rumors, we get the text of Meche's statement:
"As a competitor my entire life this is the hardest decision that I’ve ever faced, but it’s not fair to me, my family or the Kansas City Royals that I attempt to pitch anymore," Meche explained. "I came into this game as a starting pitcher and unfortunately my health, more accurately, my shoulder, has deteriorated to the point where surgery would be the only option and at this stage of my life I would prefer to call it a career rather than to attempt to pitch in relief for the final year of my contract."
The 32-year-old Meche had been an effective starting pitcher for the Royals in 2007-2008, but he fought through arm and shoulder fatigue in 2009 and missed much of the 2010 season with a shoulder injury. It seems surgery was his only realistic option for recovery, and Meche didn't want to go down that path at this point in his career. It's worth noting that Meche had major surgery in 2001, when he was still a developing youngster.
An interesting note is that, by retiring, Meche is walking away from a significant contract. He signed a $55 million, five-year deal with Kansas City in December of 2006, and is apparently leaving a guaranteed $12 million 2011 salary on the table. That isn't something a lot of players would be willing to do.
Meche finishes his career with a 4.49 ERA over 243 starts and 1432.1 innings. He went 84-83 as a member of the Royals and Mariners, and peaked in his first two years in Kansas City. He is one of a handful of pitchers to make a successful return from shoulder labrum surgery.
Meche did not figure to be a part of the Royals rotation going forward. For more, be sure to check out Royals Review.