Royals, Meche agree to five-year deal

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Kansas City Royals agreed to
terms with right-hander Gil Meche on a five-year deal worth about
$55 million on Thursday as baseball's winter meetings neared a

Meche has a 55-44 career record with a 4.65 earned-run average in 147 games,
all of them with the Seattle Mariners.

"We were proud to be a part of the process and delighted that
Gil Meche made the decision to join the Royals," general manager
Dayton Moore said. "He is an impact pitching talent who fits in
with our plan for long term success. At 28, he is entering the
prime of his career."

Meche was 11-8 with a 4.48 ERA and career highs of 186 2/3
innings and 156 strikeouts in 32 starts for Seattle in 2006.

Meche must pass a physical for the deal to be completed.

In another move, the Royals released pitcher Runelvys Hernandez,
who struggled with conditioning and inconsistency. The right-hander
was 6-10 with a 6.48 ERA in 21 starts this year.