Bruce Chen has been added to the Royals’ roster after passing his physical examination, taking the spot vacated by Gil Meche when he retired.
It really seemed like Meche was going to give the bullpen a try when we talked in the last week of the season. He felt like he had to do something to earn the $12 million still left on his contract. A lot of players would’ve had the shoulder surgery, sat out the season, collected the money and said, “Thanks and see ya later.”
Meche wasn’t that kind of guy. And, after thinking about it this winter, he couldn’t even justify collecting such a huge pile of dough by pitching out of the bullpen. So he packed it in.
“I know bullpen guys don’t make that kind of money unless they’re a closer,” he said, “and I just felt it was the right thing to do. I’m not trying to look good in any way. I just know I wouldn’t be able to handle it if I got hurt and wouldn’t be able to play.”
After making about $43 million the last four years, Meche is set financially anyway.
Anyway, with Chen on the roster, that’s back to the 40-man limit and when Jeff Francis is officially added, another player will have to be dropped.
— Dick Kaegel
Don’t look for the Royals to fall all over themselves trying to sign free-agent lefty Bruce Chen, their top winner (12-7) last season.
They love his work ethic, his mechanics changes, his attitude, his clubhouse presence. But he’s 33 and really doesn’t fit into their long-term plans. They’ve got a plentiful batch of young lefties close to being ready. He’s also viewed as a five-inning pitcher – he got beyond the sixth in just six of 23 starts.
Chen prefers a two-year contract, unlikely from the Royals, and his agent is Scott Boras, who figures to dangle his client in front of all 29 other clubs to get the best offer possible. If all that fails, Chen could wind up back with the Royals but it’s a long shot.
Right-hander Gil Meche’s long trail of travail took another bad turn on Saturday when the Royals placed him on the 15-day disabled list because of bursitis in his pitching shoulder.
His scheduled Sunday start against the Red Sox will be taken by left-hander Bruce Chen. Right-hander Victor Marte was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to take Meche’s spot on the roster.
Meche’s ailment is believed to be related to the shoulder problems he had during Spring Training. His first start of the season was delayed several days as he continued to recover. He’s made nine starts but was without a victory at 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA.
In his last outing on Tuesday night against Texas, Meche pitched six innings and gave up six runs, all resulting from four homers.
Throughout the season, Meche has contended that his physical condition was good and that his shoulder was OK. He pitched one complete game on May 8, an eight-inning loss to Texas in which he threw 128 pitches, fourth-most in his career.
Chen has pitched 10 games out of the bullpen this season with a 1-0 record and 2.89 ERA. The veteran has 121 big league starts with a 28-40 record and 4.70 ERA in that role.
Marte was with the Royals briefly earlier this season and appeared in one game. For Omaha, he has a 3-1 record, two saves and a 3.46 ERA in 14 relief appearances.