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#15181 - 12/08/06 09:06 AM Re: Dayton does it!! Meche a Royal! [Re: supermario15]
tubby Offline

Registered: 11/28/06
Loc: outside the box
holy [censored]. now we will just need to have the lead going into the late innings!

#15182 - 12/08/06 09:50 AM Re: Dayton does it!! Meche a Royal! [Re: tubby]
hail2oldku Offline
Pure Jayhawk

Registered: 08/07/03

holy [censored]. now we will just need to have the lead going into the late innings!

Since Burgois had 12 blown saves by himself you know that it is possible. The Royals would have been half way respectable with those 12 extra marks in the left hand column.
Everywhere is walking distance, if you have enough time. - Steven Wright

#15183 - 12/08/06 03:25 PM Re: Dayton does it!! Meche a Royal! [Re: tubby]
jayhawk154 Offline
Max Falkenstein

Registered: 01/31/03

holy [censored]. now we will just need to have the lead going into the late innings!


1. Young bats - check
2. Solid rotation - check
3. Closer - check

Somebody seems to be pretty methodical about their approach here.
"You came to Kansas to play in this game."

#15184 - 12/08/06 03:59 PM Re: Dayton does it!! Meche a Royal! [Re: jayhawk154]
jayhwk01 Offline
Timmy's Nemesis

Registered: 01/22/05
Loc: Mt. Oread's Shadow
This Royals fan is getting excited. It has been a long long long time. How refreshing.
_________________________ Peace Out and Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

#15185 - 12/16/06 03:24 AM Re: Dayton does it!! Meche a Royal! [Re: KUColBond]
SDakotaJayhawk Offline
Max Falkenstein

Registered: 11/16/04
Loc: Frost Arena

It's a good sign.

Shocked to see Royals fans pumped about giving Gil Meche a 55mil contract. No offense, but the inflated contract is the only reason he signed in KC. Imagine telling pitchers 30-40 years ago that you'd get 55mil over 5 and having a lifetime ERA over 4.

Now, Octavio Dotel, there is a signing I could possibly get excited about. Love to watch him hurl WHEN he's right.
fear the rabbit...FEAR THE RABBIT!

#15186 - 12/16/06 08:48 AM Re: Dayton does it!! Meche a Royal! [Re: SDakotaJayhawk]
ManhattanHawk7 Offline
Pure Jayhawk

Registered: 02/18/04
Loc: Castle Rock
You're right the Royals did overpay for Meche, but here's why I think it was a good signing.

1. The alternative to overpaying is not signing anyone or grabbing arms off the scrap head. Neither of which has done the Royals well to this point.

2. If you have to overpay and give multiple years at least get the younger guy who could still turn it on ie. Jason Schmidt(sp?) over an older Batista(sp?) from Arizona.

3. This sends the message to players, agents, and other gms that when the Royals identify a player they will pay what it takes to land them. Heck last year Baird couldn't even overpay for Paul Byrd who took a smaller contract to play at Cleveland. Times have changed.

4. Is it really overpaying when two other clubs were very close in their offers?
I find your lack of faith disturbing.

#15187 - 12/16/06 11:26 AM Re: Dayton does it!! Meche a Royal! [Re: ManhattanHawk7]
Hawk1990 Offline
US Marshal, Kansas Territory

Registered: 09/03/06
Loc: Shawnee, KS
Forget the career ERA being over 4.00. That's meaningless at a time when the ERA of the entire league is 4.56. What is meaningful is that Meche's career ERA is roughly league-average, meaning that the Royals paid $11 million per year for a league-average pitcher. Clearly, they overspent. But I'm okay with it for a couple of reasons.

First, they have the money. The industry is, to quote Peter Gammons, "awash in cash", and the Royals are no exception. I've seen reports that the Royals received a total of roughly $60 million from revenue sharing and luxury tax funds alone this past season. They just signed a new television deal with Fox that is likely to more than triple the annual revenue they received in years past (from $6 million to approximately $20 million). And in the very near future, they will have greatly enhanced revenue from their renovated stadium. Add in the fact that a lot of dead money is coming off the books next season (Sweeney's $11 million, Sanders' $5 million, Elarton's $4 million) and I'd be disappointed if the Royals don't sign even more players. They can easily carry a payroll of $70 million or more and still make a profit, and if you ever hear them say otherwise, recognize that you are being lied to.

The other reason I don't mind it is because league-average pitching has more value for a team like the Royals. They were dead last in team ERA last year at 5.65, and by a wide margin. Acquiring guys who are simply average is an enormous upgrade. Consider this; if healthy, Meche can be expected to throw somewhere between 180 and 200 innings. Let's say he throws 190.2 which would give him the exact number of innings Scott Redman and Joe Mays combined for last season. If he throws these innings with a slightly below-average ERA, say 4.65, which is his career mark, it means he would have allowed about 35 fewer runs than the Redman/Mays combo during the course of the year. The team ERA of 5.65 would be shaved by nearly a quarter of a run, to 5.43.

Then consider that Luke Hudson didn't start a game until July 7th, at which point he promptly became the team's best starting pitcher. He had an ERA of 4.79 in that role, but only had 88.1 innings as a starter. If he is in the rotation all year, he is likely to take over the 109.2 innings Runelvys Hernandez threw, giving him a total of 198. If he posts the same ERA as a starter in those extra 109.2 innings, he would save the team another 21 runs.

Suddenly, by doing nothing more than signing a league-average starter and giving their best starter a rotation slot for the entire season, the Royals have shaved nearly 60 earned runs from the total their pitching staff allowed, which would cut the team ERA from 5.65 to 5.28.

Now, obviously that still stinks, but it's just one step. If Octavio Dotel can be a healthy closer and replace Burgos' 73.1 innings with something as ordinary as a 4.50 ERA, there's another 10 runs saved. If John Bale can replace Andy Sisco's 58.1 innings with even a 5.00 ERA, there's another 15 runs saved. If Brian Bannister can be an effective long reliever and replace Jeremy Affeldt's 70 innings with an ERA of 4.75, that's another 10 runs saved.

None of these performances are outstanding by any means, but take note that they are all very reasonable to expect given past performance. And if they all occur as planned, suddenly the team ERA drops by half a run, and instead of allowing 971 runs, the team is allowing about 880, of which 810 or so would be earned. That's still a really poor 5.11 team ERA, but it would be a massive improvement.

The Royals' actual record of 62-100 almost exactly matched the record that could be projected from their run differential. By scoring 757 runs and allowing 971, the Royals projected to a record of 63-99. If the offense scores the same number of runs but the pitching improves as planned, that run differential suddenly becomes 757 scored to 880 surrendered, and projects to a record of 70-92. Seven extra wins by doing nothing more than improving four or five slots on the pitching staff to something a bit south of league-average. That's the value of someone like Gil Meche to the Royals.

Now throw in the fact that the Royals will have Shealy for the entire year, a healthy DeJesus and Teahen, and possibly Alex Gordon in the lineup, and it's not unreasonable to expect their scoring to go up as well. After their hideous 13-game losing streak in May, the team averaged right at 5.0 runs per game for the remaining three-quarters of the season. If they can do that for an entire year, that's 810 runs. And 810 runs scored versus 880 allowed gets you right in the range of 75 wins, a figure that would make me very, very happy about the direction of the team.

#15188 - 12/16/06 01:13 PM Royals trade Sisco for 1B/DH/OF Ross Gload [Re: Hawk1990]
Rex_Walters Offline
Big Dipper

Registered: 07/27/05
Loc: Chitown
I like the way Joe Posnanski (KC Star) looks at the Meche signing:

Yes, at first glance, it seems a little — what’s the word here? — let us say “surprising” that the Royals gave pitcher Gil Meche a five-year, $55 million deal. However, upon closer inspection, it seems clear that …

Wait a minute! The Royals gave Gil Meche what? Fifty-five million? Dollars? Eleven million a year? For Gil Meche? Hello? Is this a joke? Is that American money? Does he come with a chest of doubloons? Can he at least parallel park like those new Lexuses? Is there a doctor in the house?

OK, whoa, whoa, let’s slow down a little bit. Yes, people all around the sports world did a Jerry Lewis double-take when they saw that the Royals handed out their biggest free-agent contract ever. They did a triple-take when they noticed that the Royals handed that contract to Gil “Ga” Meche, a pitcher who, it’s quite possible, you have never heard of until this very moment. Don’t feel bad. Meche won 11 and 10 games the last two seasons for lousy Seattle teams. And last year he posted his lowest full-season ERA, a not-exactly-Koufaxlike 4.48.

Yes, it would be pretty easy to keep going on in this sarcastic tone for the rest of this column — seriously what could be easier than ripping the sad-sack Royals for spending $55 million on Gil Meche? Columnists dream about opportunities like this. There’s only one small problem:

I kind of like this move.

OK, wait, let’s state right up front that the Royals grossly overpaid for Meche. Up to this point in his career, Meche has been a very average pitcher when healthy, and he hasn’t always been healthy. To give a very average pitcher who has never thrown 200 innings a season $11 million a year is pure madness.

Here’s the thing: Baseball is pure madness right now. There are no $5 blackjack tables at the winter meetings. If you want to improve your baseball team, you have to spend way more than any sane person would spend. The Red Sox spent $51 million for the rights to a Japanese pitcher. The Cubs gave Ted Lilly $11 million per year, and you probably have never heard of him either. The Angels gave Gary Matthews Jr. $10 million per year, and coming into last season he was a lifetime .249 hitter offering no power and balancing that out with no speed. This is baseball free-agency in 2006.

Sure, you can be a conscientious objector and not partake in this money-burning madness. That’s a sensible position. But maybe the Royals have been sensible for far too long. They have not in recent years taken the big shot in free-agency. They have messed around with second-tier free agents — the Chuck Knoblauchs and Juan Gonzalezes — and most of those turned out very badly. But they’ve not played big-money blackjack.

Wait, you’re saying. Gil Meche is no star. Well, listen: Two days after this lousy Royals season ended, Royals GM Dayton Moore looked hard at the free-agent pitchers. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Royals, for the last 10 years, have been one of the worst pitching teams in baseball history. This season, their “pitcher of the year” was a guy with a 5.71 ERA, so Moore was well aware of the depths of pitching despair.

He looked at the pitching free agents, and he kept coming back to that one name: Gil Meche. Yes, it’s true, Meche’s numbers are hardly eye-popping. But his stuff is eye-popping — he throws a mid-90s fastball and a power curve that Moore calls “one of the best in all of baseball.” And Meche is young, too — he just turned 28.

Here, for fun, are the pitching stats for three pitchers at that age.

Line No. 1: 55 wins, 44 losses, 4.65 ERA, 815 innings, 810 hits, 575 strikeouts, 363 walks.

Line No. 2: 49-50, 4.83 ERA, 870 IP, 870 H, 612 K, 331 W.

Line No. 3: 43-47, 4.58 ERA, 799 IP, 846 H, 586 K, 344 W.

OK, so all three lines are pretty similar. What’s the point? Well, the first line belongs to Gil Meche. The second is Chris Carpenter, who became the best pitcher in the National League. The third is Jason Schmidt, who went 78-37 for San Francisco since 2001 and just signed a contract for almost $16 million per year.

Of course, we could easily find comparable pitchers who flopped, but the point is that Dayton Moore and his Royals decision makers looked hard at Meche and decided this was a young man who could emerge. He was the one young pitcher in the group who had a chance to become an ace.

So, Moore and his people threw everything into getting Gil Meche. They wooed him, Royals players Mike Sweeney and Mark Grudzielanek called him, they explained that the Royals’ luck is about the change and he was a big part of that. And, of course, they offered him way more money than anyone else — even legendary overspenders like the Cubs and Toronto. That’s what the Royals have to do to get players now. Even with all that, everybody around the game assumed Meche would go somewhere else. He signed with Kansas City.

“Look, we could have gone out and spent 4 to 6 million dollars on a fourth or fifth starter,” Moore says. “That’s how much those guys cost now. But we didn’t want to do that. We look at Gil Meche, and we think he’s a guy who could be ready to take off and become an upper-echelon pitcher. He has dominant stuff. He has tremendous makeup. And he wants to be here. To me, it was a no-brainer.”

“Is there a risk? Of course there is. … But my philosophy is this: Get the player. We think Gil Meche is the right guy for us.”

Was signing Meche a good move? We need a little time to figure that one out. If Meche gets hurt or keeps pitching very average ball or gets worse, then it will be a financial nightmare and a move mocked for many years. Many people around baseball are beating the Christmas rush and mocking the move now. It’s $55 million for Gil Meche, for crying out loud.

Thing is, if Meche becomes an ace like Moore believes he can (and it’s not impossible) this might be the key move that helps lift the Royals out of the pit of despair — sort of the way the Pudge Rodriguez signing began to turn things around in Detroit. Big gamble? You betcha. It’s a risky gambit to turn around the Royals. And that’s why I admire it.

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