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January 28, 2022

Would you ever walk away from $12M?

On most days, it’d be tough to find a reason to write about the Kansas City Royals in this space.

716944_stack_of_cash The team is a business, I suppose – in that it plays baseball games but also sells tickets and merchandise and makes a general effort to turn a profit.

But it also stinks, in spite of any attempt we can make to connect it to the goings-on at EverydayMoney.ca. So, why is the team appearing in mention here? Because one of its players just walked away from a guaranteed $12 million and set the whole world on fire.

Yes, it’s not the Royals’ on-field proficiency – the laughingstock hasn’t had a winning season since 1994 and recently traded its one marquee player, ace starter Zack Greinke – that’s making news. Gil Meche, the pitcher that was a big offseason free agent signing for the club in 2007, retired abruptly this month, voiding his contract before it played out.

Meche, who has a been a disappointment since inking a five-year, $55 million deal, has had shoulder problems in his career, sure, yet was still set to make the final $12 million of his contract in 2011 while he rehabbed his injury.

Instead, he just retired.

“When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” Meche told the New York Times. “Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.”

Guilt, it appears, got to the 32-year-old Louisiana boy, but few have been able to comprehend what Meche was thinking, no matter how commendable his act was.

And the move by the pitcher, who was a lousy 29-39 in his time with the Royals, has ignited a big-picture debate not just in baseball but in the business world alike.

Would you ever walk away from guaranteed money (maybe not $12 million, necessarily) and, if so, what would it take?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...