Meche intent on not pitching like Gil Meche
Spring Training '07 Preview: Kansas City Royals
When Gil Meche agreed to a 5-year, $55 million deal with the Royals this offseason, he knew his days of coasting through the league as a fundamentally mediocre pitcher were over. In fact, Meche recalls the day of the signing as clearly as his first day in the big leagues.
"When I got this huge contract, I was all like, 'whoa shit, I need to pitch a lot better now," he said. "It was fun sort of goofing off in Seattle, tossing out the occassional decent start every couple months, but I'm making a lot of money now, so I feel like I ought to concentrate on being a really good pitcher."
Meche refuses to accept praise for his refreshing new mindset, attributing all the credit to the motivational thinking of Royals General Manager Dayton Moore.
"What were we gonna do," explained Moore, "give him $6 million and have him putz around out there with his 1.50 WHIP like he's done every year of his life? Hell no. We gave him fifty-five million dollars thinking it would be a major wake-up call, a way of letting him know, 'you're making a lot of money now, so you better not pitch like you have in your entire career up until this point.'"
Meche has gone so far out of his way to not pitch like himself, he plans to go by the name "Brandon Ryder" this season so that fans will assume he's an up-and-coming young prospect and not a pitcher coming off two 5.00+ ERA seasons in the last three years despite playing in a massive, pitcher-friendly home stadium. He has also not ruled out pitching left-handed, throwing nothing but knuckleballs, and wearing slanty-eyed novelty glasses to make himself appear Asian.
What's next, frosted tips?
"Ha, no way," laughed Meche. "A green mohawk, actually."