There are several other things worth talking about that happened at the winter meetings today, but the Gil Meche signing took not just the cake but the entire friggin' bakery.
The fantasy punditocracy has slammed the deal, while even trying to slightly defend the Royals, pointing out that Meche was hitting 98 MPH on the gun last year and finally showing flashes of the prospect that he was in 2000 before he got hurt.
But let's put this into perspective.
Gil Meche had one awesome month last year. I remember, because it was right after I waived him (I needed the innings extremely badly. I still feel like I need a long shower.). In 5 starts in June, Meche threw up 33 2/3 IP, struck out 26, went 3-0, had a 1.6 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. I have to admit that even I thought he might have turned a corner.
His month by month in 2006:
April 5 GS, 1-2, 26 1/3 IP, 20 K, 4 HR, 4.78 ERA, 1.76 WHIP
May 6 GS, 3-2, 38 1/3 IP, 33 K, 5 HR, 4.93 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
June 5 GS, 3-0, 33 2/3 IP, 26 K, 2 HR, 1.60 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
July 6 GS, 2-1, 33 1/3 IP, 33 K, 6 HR, 5.67 ERA, 1.48 WHIP
August 4 GS, 0-3, 18 1/3 IP, 12 K, 3 HR, 6.87 ERA, 1.93 WHIP
September 6 GS, 2-0, 36 2/3 IP, 32 K, 4 HR, 4.17 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
One of those months is definitely not like the other.
Gil Meche indeed added a little hippity-hop to his fastball last year, which showed up in his career high 7.52 K/9 IP. Problem is that his K/BB rate didn't improve accordingly, meaning that Gil was walking more batters than ever. Combine that with a flyball pitcher and you get what you got out of Meche...a guy who was tolerable for the back of your Roto staff but not a guy who was going to win you your league.
The Royals are going to have the same problem with Meche. If he somehow turns that magical corner next year, the Royals are luckier than they are good, in my mind. And the same goes for Roto. Meche is certainly worth a $3-4 bid in the crapshoot next year, and is worth a more than that in 5x5 leagues. But not much more. If you pay double digits for Meche, you'll most likely be sorry.
And I never thought I'd say that about an $11M/year pitcher.