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KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 27: Gil Meche #55 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch during the MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 27, 2008 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
Okay, Gil Meche hasn't been great since signing a big contract with the Kansas City Royals. But not many players would feel so badly about their performance that they would walk away from a guaranteed $12 million.
Meche announced last week he will retire, giving up the payday due on the last year of his deal. Meche has always been known for his integrity, according to The New York Times, but this move left the baseball world stunned. Meche said he just didn't like the idea of not earning his keep.
“When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” Meche told the paper from his temporary home in 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.”
“This isn’t about being a hero — that’s not even close to what it’s about,” Meche said. “It’s just me getting back to a point in my life where I’m comfortable. Making that amount of money from a team that’s already given me over $40 million for my life and for my kids, it just wasn’t the right thing to do.”
Meche, who is just 32, posted an 0-5 record last season with a 5.69 ERA. In his four years with the Royals, he won 29 games and lost 39.
He said he has no regrets and is now looking for a new home in the area where he grew up.
“I want to get back to what I remember as a kid, the way of life here in Louisiana,” Meche said. “We tend to think we live a little differently down here. It’s a lot of culture, a lot of French culture. Everywhere I’ve been in the country, for some reason, this is the place I can’t get away from.”