Tag: Matt Bush

Matt Bush to Rangers: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Former No. 1 overall pick Matt Bush has been afforded a shot at redemption by the Texas Rangers. 

According to the Dallas Morning NewsEvan Grant, the Rangers signed the right-handed pitcher to a minor league contract after the top pick in the 2004 draft spent almost three years in jail following a serious hit-and-run DWI incident. The deal does not include an invitation to spring training at the major league level.

The 29-year-old had reportedly been serving the final nine months of his sentence in a work-release program and set his sights on a potential return to baseball during that time. 

Based on his lengthy history of legal trouble that also includes an alleged spat with security guards, Bush will be under the microscope upon returning to the sport, per Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram

According to Grant, Bush’s history has placed him in the minor league drug and alcohol testing program. The Rangers will also operate with a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any future infractions. 

“I think my future is as bright as I can make it,” Bush said, per Grant. “I wake up each day in a positive state of mind. Now, I’ve got a pretty cut-and-dried approach to things. I want to be part of the game. I want to be a role model. I want to make the most of this opportunity.”

After being drafted No. 1 overall as a shortstop by the San Diego Padres over a decade ago, Bush spent time in the Toronto Blue Jays system before landing with the Tampa Bay Rays prior to his DWI. According to the Tampa Bay TimesJoe Smith, he was involved in three hit-and-run DWI crashes the day of his arrest. 

While it would be hard to have high expectations for Bush after such a long stretch out of the sport, Wilson noted he still has some gas left in the tank:

A quick move up the organizational ladder in a relief role would be surprising, to say the least, but Bush clearly has the raw physical chops necessary to turn some heads. If he can piece the rest of it together and maintain a clear focus on developing a prosperous career, he could wind up being one of the feel-good stories of the upcoming campaign. 

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San Diego Padres: What If They Drafted Justin Verlander Instead of Matt Bush?

One-time first overall pick Matt Bush is in the news again, and as expected it is not positive. And his ordeal is a warning sign to teams hoping to cut corners on draft day.

According to the Associated Press (via Yahoo Sports), the San Diego Padres top pick in the 2004 draft pleaded no contest for a drunk driving hit-and-run crash.

The former shortstop turned pitcher hit the 72-year-old Tony Tufano’s motorcycle and then fled the scene in North Port Florida. His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. He is sentenced to four years in prison and will be 31 years old when his sentence ends.

There have been many number one overall picks that have flamed out. Shawn Abner and Brien Taylor come to mind. But the legal problems of Matt Bush could make him the worst number one pick of all time, especially when considering the other players available in the draft.

According to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, Bush was not the first or second choice of the Padres organization. They wanted Stephen Drew, a star at Florida State or Jered Weaver, a Cal State Long Beach stand out. And the two have become solid major leaguers.

But both were represented by Scott Boras and the powerful agent wanted sky-high bonuses for his clients. The penny-pinching Padres passed and Drew became a Diamondback and Weaver became an Angel.

According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Padres spent a little more than $3 million on a signing bonus for local product Matt Bush with the number one pick, a player virtually nobody had among the elite available prospects.

The team may have wanted to have avoided spending money on a Boras client and instead threw $3 million away. The very next pick in the draft was also not a Boras client. The Detroit Tigers selected Justin Verlander with the number two pick.

According to Baseball Reference, Verlander’s father Richard negotiated the contract. The signing bonus and guaranteed money equaled $5.6 million.

For a little more than $2 million, the Padres could have had Justin Verlander under their control for six major league seasons.

Instead Bush was a disaster from the start. Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune wrote about Bush being suspended his very first minor league season after he was charged with a felony and a misdemeanor at a Peoria Arizona nightclub.

His minor league failures, injuries and legal troubles have been well-documented. The final straw for the Padres, according to Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union Tribune, was a fight captured on tape punctuated by him screaming “I’m Matt F—ing Bush” and driving away drunk.

That was in February, 2009. By that point Justin Verlander had won the 2006 Rookie of the Year, won 17 games one season and 18 games the next, had pitched in the World Series and had his first no-hitter under his belt.

The Padres sent Bush to the Blue Jays who cut him after another incident. A year later he tried a comeback in the Tampa Bay system as a pitcher, but his inability to stay out of trouble has not only kept him from the majors but landed him in prison.

The idea of Verlander in the Padres system is an agonizing one. Had he come up through the system as he did with the Detroit Tigers, Verlander would have been a big league starter in 2006.

As all Padres fans know, the team had a solid pitching staff and an unhittable bullpen in 2006. The won the division but lost to a seemingly inferior St. Louis Cardinals team who eventually beat Verlander’s Tigers in the World Series.

Would a pitcher of Verlander’s talent have been the difference in a postseason matchup? Certainly a Cy Young candidate inserted into the 2007 pitching staff would have meant a postseason berth.

Padres starter Jake Peavy won the Cy Young Award in 2007 and were in first place by themselves in September. They were two Trevor Hoffman meltdowns from clinching a wild-card spot but lost the one game Wild-Card playoff to the eventual National League Champion Colorado Rockies.

In back-to-back seasons, the Padres lost to the team that would represent the National League in the World Series.

Would Verlander in the rotation as a one-two punch with Jake Peavy had been the difference in clinching the elusive title for the Padres? Would San Diego fans have their moment of glory they have been waiting generations for in the mid 2000’s the way that Angels fans, Red Sox fans, White Sox fans and Phillies fans had that decade?

Would Verlander have made the difference in the razor-thin 2010 race?

In this day and age of high-priced starters, the most economical way of acquiring an ace is to develop one. They had one with Jake Peavy but alas allowed one to slip away in order to save money on draft day.

It is impossible to know for sure how Verlander would have fared in San Diego. But playing in a pitchers park and division would have been in his favor.

The Padres could have had that for a few million dollars more. Instead, they chose Matt Bush. Justin Verlander won a Cy Young and MVP award and nearly won another Cy Young this year. Matt Bush is in jail.

What could have been indeed.

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Matt Bush Saga Further Proves MLB’s No. 1 Pick Is Riskiest Selection in Sports

In baseball, holding the top pick in the draft has proven to be more of a curse than a blessing.

Matt Bush‘s path from high school baseball star to MLB No. 1 overall pick by the San Diego Padres in 2004 to his current legal predicament is hurtful. Per ESPN, Bush is slated to serve a three-year sentence—in addition to time already served—for a DUI hit-and-run in March.

The incident likely cost Bush his baseball career, nearly cost the victim his life and will undoubtedly change Bush’s life forever. We can only hope the change is for the better.

This case is not the only sad story about a former No. 1 overall pick. We’ve seen teams hit home runs with the selections of Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Joe Mauer. However, we’ve seen far more failures than successes from the top picks.

Bush’s story bears some resemblance to that of Brien Taylor or even Josh Hamilton. Taylor’s career fizzled out after he suffered a catastrophic arm injury while in the minors, per the Fay Observer. He was the top pick in the 1991 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees.

His career and life spiraled out of control after the injury. Today he is also serving a prison sentence, per ESPN.

Hamilton has recovered from his early personal issues that also included alcohol abuse, per the New York Times. He recently signed a huge free agent deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and he is one of the game’s best players. However the Tampa Bay Rays—the team that drafted him in 1999—never got an opportunity to see him shine in a Rays uniform.

Hamilton was losing the wrestling match with his demons at that point. Even as recent as this year, he admitted to having a relapse, per ABC News.

This is not a knock on Hamilton as no one is perfect. Godspeed to him and every other recovering alcoholic and addict struggling to overcome addiction.

It’s not just personal problems that have impeded many of baseball’s top picks, though.

Since the MLB Draft began in 1965 (not counting the top selections in 2011 and 2012, who haven’t had ample time to reach the majors), only two players taken No. 1 have won the Rookie of the Year award.

Only 22 of the 45 applicable players have made an All-Star team. Only 14 of them were named All-Stars while with the team that drafted them. Counting Bush, three of the players taken with the first pick never played in a regular season major league game.

According to those numbers, teams that hold the top pick in the draft have just over a 31 percent chance to see their selection represent their club as an All-Star. Darryl Strawberry and Chipper Jones are the only former No. 1 picks to be a part of a World Series champion with their original clubs.

As of now—though Griffey Jr. and Jones are likely to change this—no former No. 1 pick has reached the Hall of Fame. These are staggering facts when you consider we’re talking about 47 years of history.

At least 13 of the players taken with the top pick could be considered complete busts (Bush, Steve Chilcott, Taylor, Danny Goodwin and more). And while the NFL and NBA have also had their share of top draft choice busts, both leagues have seen more successful top picks than MLB.

Though the NBA has had a longer draft history, 14 former No. 1 picks have already been elected to the Hall of Fame, and there are more on the way with Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, LeBron James and Dwight Howard either not yet eligible or still active.

The NFL is the closest in bust-potential, but even they have sent 12 former No. 1 picks to the Hall of Fame. It’s a low number considering the draft began in 1936, but the NFL’s top yearly pick has still, on average, been able to accomplish more than MLB’s top pick.

Obviously, the differences in the sports play a role. NBA and NFL rookies aren’t sent directly to the minors, so they are almost assured of some action with the professional team, but it doesn’t account for every aspect.

Success in baseball is about physical talent, yes. But maybe more than any other sport, a player’s development and success in baseball is based on his mental state. Many of the young men I’ve discussed haven’t had that aspect of their being intact.

Beyond the sad stories of legal problems and substance abuse, the returns of on-field success for MLB’s former No. 1 draft picks have been the lowest in the history of team sports.


(stat references from Baseball-Reference, Pro-Football-Reference and Basketball-Reference)


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Matt Bush: Former MLB No. 1 Overall Pick Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Former San Diego Padres 2004 No. 1 overall draft pick Matt Bush has agreed to a plea bargain that will see the 26-year-old spend three years in prison in connection to a DUI hit-and-run incident, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.

The relief pitcher was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays organization when the hit-and-run accident occurred. He’s spent over eight months in a Charlotte County, Florida, prison while awaiting the outcome of the case.

The incident in question occurred while Bush was driving on a suspended license and under the influence of alcohol. The young prospect hit the motorcycle of 72-year-old Tony Tufano and then fled from the scene.

Tufano suffered serious injuries, and Bush has been incarcerated since being arrested.

Daniel Bush, Bush’s father, told the Tampa Bay Times about how Matt was taking the news of his prison sentence and how his family is supporting the young man:

He’s taking it pretty good. He’s not crying or sulking. He’s preparing for it. Everybody in our family is backing him up…It’s a bad situation, but you’ve got to make the best of it. Life goes on.

This an absolutely devastating situation for all parties involved, but the hope now for the Bush family is that the young baseball prospect can use this as a learning tool and become a better man because of it.

Bush will be close to 30 when he leaves prison, so any hopes of a major league baseball career are likely over. With that in mind, Bush can begin the slow process of returning to society as a changed person.


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