Meche redux

Dave · August 23, 2004 at 3:57 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

There’s a lot of good stuff from the contributors in the comments on the Meche thread from last night. I was a bit surprised at how resounding the support for Meche was, with every single person chiming in that they feel he’ll be worth $2+ million next year. I don’t think it’s quite so clear cut, but I do agree that he’s shown enough to at least warrent a contract tender.

It appears that there is little concern for Meche’s future health, which to me is still a significant factor. The history of pitchers recovering from labrum surgery is downright terrible, and Meche is basically blazing a new trail here. He was worked pretty hard last year, and I can’t see any reason to commit to him for more than a year at a time. Meche’s injury history scares me enough where I’m not sure I’ll ever be in favor of giving him a multi-year contract. As such, I don’t necessarily view him as any long term solution to the franchise’s pitching situation like some apparently do. Even in the best case scenario, where he has figured it out and pitches well the next two years, the M’s will then have to either let him walk or commit a lot of money over a lot of years to keep him around. With no prior cases of how labrum recoverers age, this would basically be a guess and a prayer, and considering the volatility of pitchers anyways, it’s probably not one I’m comfortable making.

I just don’t see that many ways that Meche can help this club in the long term. As such, I would support moving him if the Mariners could get talent in return. And by talent, I don’t mean Brandon Inge.


8 Responses to “Meche redux”

  1. tvwxman on August 23rd, 2004 4:13 pm

    I don’t know how much I have support for Meche.

    However, I think that at this point, with his injury concerns and first half ineffectiveness, he’s not going to garner any real trade interest, and the players they would get would be Bocachica-esque, at best.

    In other words, re-signing Meche is a moderate risk/moderate reward move. If Meche is effective, that frees up $$ that would otherwise be spent on a FA pitcher that would be better spent on bats (and no guarantee that FA pitcher would be as effective). If he’s not? The M’s are out $2 million, which is peanuts for this organization…at least it should be.

  2. Jeff in Fremont on August 23rd, 2004 4:20 pm

    It’s a gamble with minimal risk. At best, he returns to early 2003 form and wins 15+, at worst he holds a place until Thornton, Blackley, or Nageotte is actually ready to join the rotation.

  3. Dan on August 23rd, 2004 4:23 pm

    Actually, at best you have a low cost decent starter that can shore up someone’s rotation, and you deal him before the 2005 deadline for some reasonable talent.

  4. Eric on August 23rd, 2004 4:48 pm

    I think most of the data on pitchers not being able to come back from Labrums involved full tears. Meche had “only” a frayed Labrum, so there is still hope that he can fully recover.

    Mainly I echo what most are saying, for $2 mil it isn’t a bad risk, and it isn’t like you are going to get much in trade for him anyway

  5. Paul on August 23rd, 2004 5:40 pm

    I think Gil has major league stuff, and barring injury the light bulb may go off at any time making him a valuable member of the staff. He certainly shows better than all the Tacoma troop, except Madritsch.

  6. Jim Thomsen on August 23rd, 2004 5:59 pm

    I still agree with those who feel Meche is a reasonable risk for 2005 at less than $2 million. Dave is right that Meche is blazing a new trail in his post-labrum-surgery success … but why punt simply out of fear of the unknown? That being said, I WOULD punt if I perceived the trade market for Meche is strong, but that doesn’t seem to be the case yet. (I seem to recall reading a report a month or so ago that Cincinnati was dangling a low-to-mid-level prospect for Meche before the July 31 deadline. Meche as a mere piece in a trade for someone the ilk of Brandon Inge is too goofy to contemplate.)

    Unless the Mariners get a knockout trade offer, why not see what could happen in 2005? There’s risk, but it’s moderate. And yes, the reward is likely to be moderate, too … but that’s a surer bet right now that putting too much stock in the potential 2005 contributons of Nageotte, Blackley, Baek, Thornton, et al., who have had NO real major league success.

    At some point, a team as badly burned as the Mariners — self-inflicted burns at that — can get too cautious and take no risks. I’d hate to see no risks taken simply because the front office is filled with people who don’t seem to have any faith in their own judgment of a ballplayer’s value. (Granted, there’s no reason for US to have faith in their judgment, either but they gotta do something regardless … so let’s hope they grow some metaphorical nutsack between now and February.)

    Bill James once wrote something to the effect of: “I believe in a simple system. If a player succeeds at one level, you give him a chance at the next. And you don’t decide players haven’t succeeded until they’ve actually failed.” (I’m probably bastardizing the quote all to hell, but the sentiment is intact.) Let’s not overthink this too much. Meche is doing OK right now. Barring re-injury, or a good trade, don’t throw away the possibility that he might be a better-than-league-average 180-inning back-of-the-rotation anchor in 2005 … or maybe a good reliever if he would accept it.

  7. Kevin Drakulich on August 24th, 2004 8:41 am

    Gil is locked in a battle with Ron and Ryan for the title of best long-reliever currently in our starting rotation.

    In all seriousness, though, I agree with Jim on his low trade value. I don’t like the idea of getting rid of him just for the sake of getting rid of him (a la Cameron or Guillen), especially with the big questions about next year’s rotation.

    More realistically, his trade value will come as a throw-in in a package. At this point I’d throw my mother into a deal that involved a Texas infielder.

  8. Jason Stearns on August 24th, 2004 9:57 am

    I agree that Meche is entering a new territory and I would not tender him with longer than the remaining two years arbitration years he has left. For the future,I think if he proves he can remain healthy for the next two years, I would add some health issues cause to the contract or just let him walk.