In a surprise announcement, the Kansas City Royals have sent out a press release that RHP Gil Meche will retire, effective immediately.

Meche, who is only 32 years old but has fought injuries, spent the past four seasons with the Royals after beginning his career with the Seattle Mariners. He was drafted 22nd overall in the first round of the 1996 MLB Amateur Draft.

Though he had mediocre success while in Seattle, the Royals handed Meche a five-year, $55 million contract after the 2006 season, which at the time matched Mike Sweeney for the largest contract in franchise history.

Due to baseball contracts being guaranteed, Meche could have stayed with the club and collected the salary from the final year of his contract, even if was unable to pitch. There was some thought that he may pitch out of the bullpen if healthy.

Meche finishes his career with an 84-83 record and a 4.49 ERA.

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