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Pitcher Walks Away From $12 Million

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From the start, I thought the Kansas City Royals got a bad rap when they gave Gil Meche a 5-year, $55 million contract. That was before the 2007 season, and up to that point Meche's career numbers were 55-44 with an unimpressive 4.65 ERA, an equally unimpressive 96 ERA+, and a penchant for giving up walks and home runs. He had just turned 28 years old.

These numbers, and others like them, strongly suggested the Meche was not worth anything close to $11 million a year ... strongly suggested, in fact, that the cash-poor Royals might have been out of their minds. Many people said this out loud. A few -- like then-Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi, who had been trying to sign Meche -- also took some shots at Meche for lacking the fortitude to play for a team that had a chance to...

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