January 27, 2011

HE SHOULD HAVE HIS NUMBER RETIRED:

Who Gives Up $12 Million? A Conflicted Baseball Player (TYLER KEPNER, 1/26/11, NY Times)

[Gil] Meche, a 32-year-old right-handed pitcher, had a contract that called for a $12 million salary in 2011. Yet he will not report to Surprise, Ariz., with the rest of the Kansas City Royals for spring training next month. He will not have surgery to repair his chronically aching right shoulder. He will not pitch in relief, where the workload is lighter.

Meche retired last week, which means he will not be paid at all.

“When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” Meche said this week, by phone from Lafayette, La. “Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.”

Meche’s decision plays against type — the modern athlete out for every last dollar. There have been, over the years, athletes who took less money to play for one team over another, Cliff Lee the latest. And yes, Ryne Sandberg retired from the Chicago Cubs in 1994, forgoing nearly $16 million.

But there are very few parallels to what Meche did.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at January 27, 2011 6:28 AM
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