J.P. had this to say in response to the Gil Meche signing (taken from this thread at Baseball Primer):
"No knock against the kid, but we might've dodged a bullet there," said Jays, general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who headed home from the winter meetings this morning after striking out on both of the team's major, if not only, free-agent targets.
"When you're talking to a guy about coming to a place that's very close to winning and he's telling you how important it is to him , and then he chooses a place like that .... that might've been an eye-opener for us. We're trying to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox, so we need guys who want to compete against those guys."
It's strikingly odd that it was Meche's attitude that ultimately changed J.P.'s mind, not his mediocre track record, poor road/home split, and exorbitantly high price tag. Nevertheless, I'm ecstatic that the Blue Jays avoided acquiring Meche. Replaceable commodities should not command upwards of $10 million per season, especially considering most of them will do so across periods of progressive decline. Moreover, the length of his deal is a serious cause for concern. Once the Royals realize they can replace Meche with someone younger and better, he'll still be on the team, taking up a roster spot and a large chunk of the payroll. The same problem befell the Angels, for example, who suffered through very poor play from Darin Erstad and now Garrett Anderson. Whenever possible, long-term, high-sum contracts should only be granted to players whose production cannot easily be replaced. A team such as the Cardinals have used this premise to perfection, locking up core players to long-term deals, whose very high monetary sums are justified by very high levels of production. The recent extension granted to Chris Carpenter is but one example.