Meche re-signs

Dave · January 12, 2005 at 8:24 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The M’s avoided arbitration with Gil Meche, bringing him back for 2005 at $2.5 million, a little less than he probably would have gotten had an arbitor decided his salary. For as much as we’ve questioned Meche and the overexcitement surrounding his abilities, he’s obviously a good deal at this price.

This will be my last post for a little while. I’m just… tired, and I want to spend some time doing and writing about things other than baseball. I’ll be back relatively soon, no worries, and Derek and Jason will hold down the fort just fine. And, you know, if the M’s trade for Babe Ruth, I’ll call off the break.


15 Responses to “Meche re-signs”

  1. wabbles on January 12th, 2005 10:18 pm

    Not only is Meche a good deal at $2.5 million, he will be a good pitcher too. He had a meteoric rise through the M’s system after being our 1996 first round draft choice. (Ryan Anderson was our 1997 first rounder.)He was great in the second half of 1999 when he debuted 8-4. Then he started to wane in 2000 as the “dead arm” took over, posting a 4-4 record before going on the DL. He had a pretty good 2003 (15-13) before becoming the staff basket case in 2004.
    Here’s the thing.
    After returning from his Tacoma demotion in the second half of 2004, he was his usual self — virtually unhittable. The guy throws smoke and has a 2-1 strike to walk ratio. The only downside is whether he mentally and physically can go a full season in the majors, having only done it once. If he returns to his second half 1999/second half 2004 form, the Mariners will win some games. Welcome back Gil.

    And on the other issue….
    Babe Ruth is available? Does that mean if we buy him from the Yankees, the Mariners will win 26 World Series and the Yankees won’t win one for 86 years?

  2. Paul Covert on January 12th, 2005 10:56 pm

    Ted Williams, on the other hand, is probably a few years away from being able to make a comeback. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Marty Lighthizer on January 12th, 2005 11:35 pm

    Trade Boone, snap up Rogers Hornsby, move Winn to LF and talk Willie Mays out of retirement. Ted Williams would be useless as a player in his current condition, but could be persuaded to serve as hitting coach…

  4. Shoeless Jose on January 13th, 2005 12:53 am

    Heck, Frank Robinson is still around and fighting with umps. Sign him up! (I was sitting right behind home plate for one of the Expos games this past summer and when he walked out to replace his pitcher I said something about it’s not often you get to see a legend still in the game — and discovered I had to explain to several of the people around me just who he is in the baseball pantheon. How is it possible he’s been so overlooked?)

  5. Shoeless Jose on January 13th, 2005 1:14 am

    Meche became a basket case because he was overworked. I think that was Melvin’s biggest mistake in 2003 (and that’s saying something). You don’t expect that many innings out of a young arm just back from injury. Verducci at SI has written several articles showing it is risky for young pitchers to increase their load by more than 30 innings a year: he says “Typically, the ill effects of that kind of bump in workload for pitchers 25 and younger show up the following season.” I sure hope Hargrove has better sense in managing a young pitching staff.

  6. DMZ on January 13th, 2005 8:21 am

    After returning from his Tacoma demotion in the second half of 2004, he was his usual self รขโ‚ฌโ€œ virtually unhittable.

    As we’ve discussed elsewhere here, this isn’t true. He just stopped giving up walks entirely. That’s the only real difference between pre and post-Meche. The rate of balls put in play against him was almost identical.

  7. Pilots fan on January 13th, 2005 8:56 am

    Of course the Meche signing is a good thing. Too bad it isn’t a multi-year deal. Maybe the M’s will pursue that during the season?

    I expect Meche to be our most reliable starter in 2005. He was great in the second half of the season with what defense behind him? Add in the lineup the M’s have today to support him and a healthy Meche pitching like he did … and next year his market value is what, $7-$9M?

    I don’t know when he is eligible for FA, but we need to lock this guy up.

  8. Evan on January 13th, 2005 9:15 am

    If Meche can keep giving up walks at a rate usually associated with Curt Schilling or David Wells, I’d be really happy with him.

  9. Jones on January 13th, 2005 12:46 pm

    DMZ just pointed out the key to both Pineiro and Meche–if they try to be unhittable, they’re going to nibble the corners and give out free passes to first. If they stop nibbling, use their stuff, and quit worrying about hitters putting the ball into play they should be pretty good. The best at-bat from a pitchers point of view shouldn’t be a K, it should be a first-pitch ground or fly out.

  10. Jeff Sullivan on January 13th, 2005 4:03 pm

    If the market value for a Meche-in-the-second-half-like performance is $7-9m on the open market next year, then GM’s around the league have gone even nuttier than I thought.

    He was decent after returning from AAA last year – nothing more, nothing less. He threw a bunch of strikes, he allowed a bunch of homers, and the end resut was an ERA about 8% better than league average over those 84.1 innings. Were you to adjust that to a neutral park, you’re looking at a 4.24 second half ERA.

    Are people trying to find the new Eric Milton, or what?

  11. Deanna on January 13th, 2005 4:17 pm

    I dunno, but I saw Meche a bunch both pre- and post- Tacoma, and he just looked better out there in post-Tacoma, regardless of how you adjust the numbers. He wasn’t spending a few minutes before each pitch deliberating, and he wasn’t nibbling the corners and walking everyone. Yeah, his HR count is a problem, but I’m glad he’s signed and ready to come back.

    Now on the other hand, the article on the Mariners’ site points out that “One down, one to go…” meaning that Meche is signed, and it only remains for them to either sign or arbitrate Villone. Eek.

  12. Jeff Sullivan on January 13th, 2005 4:34 pm

    Meche *was* better when he came back. A lot better. The fundamental key to successful pitching is throwing strikes, which he did in spades.

    It will just be difficult for Meche to achieve the level of performance so many people are expecting of him when he doesn’t strike out many batters and gives up a ton of homers. Lots of people seem to think that the post-ASB 2004 Meche was a tremendous pitcher, that he finally tapped into his supposed enormous potential, but if that’s all there is…well, color me unimpressed.

    Seems to me like he needs to find a comfortable balance between where he was late last summer and where he was earlier in his career, throwing strikes without getting too much of the plate. That’s going to require a significant improvement in command, and I don’t know if he can do it.

  13. wabbles on January 13th, 2005 6:13 pm

    When I said “unhittable,” I meant hitters didn’t safely reach base against him without benefit of a fielding error or fielder’s choice, not that they never made contact.

  14. Graham on January 13th, 2005 6:26 pm

    Wabbles, Meche gave up about a hit per inning July-September: 84 hits in 84 1/3 innings pitched. You’re right in that he became less hittable: avg against in August was .246 and September was .228, but to call him unhittable misses out on some key facts (i.e. all the hits). ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. DMZ on January 13th, 2005 8:05 pm

    The balls put into play on Meche went for outs at a far higher rate after his demotion, which was the difference in his H/9 rates. There was no fundamental improvement in Meche’s ability to keep batters from making contact.