Given the escalating salaries of the past several weeks, it wasn’t necessarily the shocker of the winter that Gil Meche would command $11 million per annum over a half decade. But I don’t know who would’ve predicted Kansas City of all teams, would pay the ransom, making Meche the highest paid player in Royals history. From the Toronto Sun’s Bob Elliot (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

After the Royals landed free-agent Gil Meche to a five-year, $55 million deal, Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi questioned Meche’s competitiveness.

“When a guy talks about coming to our place where he has a chance to win and compete against the Yankees and the Red Sox,” Ricciardi told USA Today, “and then he goes to a place like Kansas City, that’s an eye-opener.”

Royals manager Buddy Bell (above), among others in Kansas City, took offence.

“(Ricciardi) is an interesting guy for all that he’s done in the game,” Bell told the Kansas City Star. “He’s a little guy with a big mouth and all he does is whine. And you can write that. That’s the kind of crap in this game that drives me crazy. He knows nothing about our situation. You’ve got to be kidding me. Every time I hear this guy talk, all he’s doing is whining.”

After losing out in the Meche bidding and offering a four-year $40 million deal, Ricciardi said “we may have dodged a bullet with that one.”

Bell’s baseball credentials, are of course, impeccable. A 5 time American League All-Star. A 6-time Gold Glove winner. And a managerial record of 450 wins and 631 losses, for a sparkling winning percentage of .416. What has J.P. Ricciardi ever accomplished as a baseball executive? He threw a ton of money at J.P. Burnett and learned how to speak Canadian, big deal. Bell led the 2000 Colorado Rockies to an 82-80 mark, good enough for 4th place in the ultra-competitive NL West. Learn to recite those factoids, J.P., but if you’d rather not memorize, you’ll be able to read ’em off Buddy’s plaque in the Hall Of Fame in a few years.