Tag Archives: Matt Bush

An Open Letter to Matt Bush – I’m Rooting For You

Every year, it never fails. Draft time appraoches and bloggers, columnists, and self-reightous sports pundits are quick to point to the San Deigeo Padres when they selected you number one overall.

They don’t remember that Matt Bush is a person.

They only mention Matt Bush the prospect. They like to use you as the example for draft day busts. They like to remind us that just because it’s a number one pick, success is no promise. They like to tell us how your lack of success all but ruined the Padres. They like to tell us that your personal indiscretions ruined the potential of a great career.

They forget you are human just because someone took a chance.

They don’t like to talk about how you’ve struggled personally. They don’t mention that maybe – just maybe – you’ve faced undying regret.

Padres fans, get over it.

Last I looked, you were in first place with some promising young talent coming up. Truth be told, the years that Matt Bush played in Fort Wayne as a position player were not exactly great squads. Maybe there’s more than one poor decision to blame.

Matt Bush with the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2005
Matt Bush with the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2005. Photo by Chad Gramling.

Matt, I truly and sincerely hope you succeed. But not just on the field. In life.

You were thrown a lot of cash with massive expectations at a young and impressionable age. I hope you’ve discovered peace and overcome the grips of addiction.

Now, I’m not making any attempt to get religious and make it my life mission to make sure you are saved. But Mr. Bush, I hope you’ve found God. That way, whether you throw another pitch or not, you’ve at least got faith on your side and have the rest of your life to make good on His purpose for you.

Finally, Matt, I hope you are aiming to make the comparisons to Ryan Leaf end – and ready to make comparisons to Josh Hamilton begin. I’m rooting for you Matt.



WizCaps Where R They? 2010

Thought I would take a little time and update where many of the former Wizards and TinCaps are playing currently:

Let’s start with the easiest – that being the Padres. On their active roster, are former WizCaps, Mat Latos, Wade LeBlanc, Nick Hundley, Chase Headley, Lance Zawadzki, Kyle Blanks and Will Veneble. Others who are on their 40-man roster (but not active roster) are; Ernesto Frieri, Seve Garrison, Cesar Ramos, Matt Antonelli, and Luis Durango.

After having been released by the Padres during spring, Chad Huffman was quickly picked up by the Yankees. Padres front-office exec Paul DePodesta expressed regret. Friar Forecast called it “no big deal.” In 14 games with the Triple-A Scranton Wiles-Barre Yankees, Huffman is batting .204 with 3 home runs and 5 RBI. He’s struck out 12 time sin 54 at-bats.

Leo Rosales is still in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization and has seen big league action this year. However, he has landed on the DL due to a stress fracture in his right foot. Oddly, he first felt discomfort when he got fellow Fort Wayne alumnus Kyle Blanks (Padres) to ground into a double play

Luke Carlin is nearby in Indianapolis with the the Pittsburgh Pirate’s Triple-A Affiliate, the Indy Indians. The catcher is putting up some pretty solid offensive numbers in 13 games so far on the young season.

Another former ‘zards catcher, Jose Lobaton, is now in the Tampa Bay organization. He served as the backup for two days while Dioner Navarro served a two-game suspension last week. He’s since been optioned back to Triple-A. Also on the Durham Bulls’ roster are former Wizards Dale Thayer and J.J. Furmaniak.

Eddie Bonine is putting logging some big leage innings with Detroit. Perhaps the return of his knuckleball is the magic formula this time around.

“He’s a very useable big league pitcher,” Leyland said of the 28-year-old. “Will he knock your lights out? No. But he’s been a winner wherever he’s been.”

The Camden Riversharks seems to be the preferred indy team for former Wizards. Their current roster includes pitchers Travis Chick and Jon Ellis as well as infielders Brett Bonvechio and Brian Burgamy.

Everyone’s favorite wipping boy, Matt Bush is trying to not only save his career but redeem his life with the Tampa Bay Rays. On the season, he’s seen one game with the class A+ Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Dirk Hayhurst remains with Toronto – but he’s also gained a lot of attention for his New York Times Bestseller, The Bullpen Gospels. He’s also got his own site/blog. Unfortunately, he is likely to miss most of the season following shoulder surgery in February.

Freddy Guzman is in the Phillies organization. He’s currently assigned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Jared Wells is currently with the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks of the Houston Astros organization.

Wilton Lopez is with the Houston Astros organization, currently playing at Triple-A Round Rock, but he has seen big league action on the season already and he remains on the 40-man roster. Another former Wizard, Yordany Ramirez is also on the 40-man roster, but has yet to see big league action at any point in his career. He too is at Triple-A and is hitting .265 with a home run and 6 RBI over 16 games.

Roster Battles: Cruz In, Rosales to Minors, Bush Released

Unless the Pirates make a waiver claim or something changes between now and opening day, Luis Cruz has a spot on the Pirates opening day roster.

…this will be his first time on an Opening Day roster. He made his Major League debut as a September callup last year and impressed with his defensive abilities and versatility.

Diamondbacks reliever, Leo Rosales, was sent to Triple-A today. He had a 3.86 ERA in and nine strikeouts in 11.2 innings over 10 Cactus League games.

The Matt Bush era in Toronto is over before it begins. Hoep the Padres don’t have to give up much for hte PTBNL or cash for that experiment.

“He did have issues when he was with San Diego,” said one Blue Jays official. The Blue Jays would not specify what Bush did to cause his release except to say he ran afoul of the “zero tolerance” terms of his agreement with the American League team.

Wonder who (if anyone) will take a chance on bush now. Josh Hamilton, please reach out to this kid!

If he plays well, David Freese will get a longer look in St. Louis since Troy Glaus will be out longer than originally anticipated.

Finally, yours truly has been quoted in an MLB article containing comments from many overly optimistic Chicago Cubs fans. Enjoy.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Bush, Hawkins, Headley

Just yesterday, I was thinking that I hadn’t seen any news on former Wizard Matt Bush since he ended up in Tornoto. Then comes this – with a hat tip to Friar John:

J.P. Ricciardi and player development director Dickie Scott could not have been any clearer with Matt Bush, the former first-overall pick of the San Diego Padres whose checkered past now has him with the Toronto Blue Jays.

“We’re big on second chances,” Ricciardi, the Blue Jays general manager said. “Third chances? We’re not so big on that.”

There are people in uniform who will tell you Bush has the best slider in camp. Roy Halladay, for one, might make the case after watching one of Bush’s bullpen sessions with reliever B.J. Ryan. “Some kinda arm,” Halladay said.

Add former Wizard, LaTroy Hawkins to the USA WBC roster. In a bit of an ironic twist, he replaces the Twins’ closer, Joe Nathan. Hawkins was a dominant set-up man for the Twins way back in the day.

Former Wizards catcher, Chad Moeller is hoping to win a spot with Baltimore even as uber-prospect Matt Weiters breathes down his neck:

But you won’t find Moeller, a nine-year veteran, obsessing over his lot in life. Instead, you’ll find a player whose perspective has gotten better with age, a backstop who knows he has more to give a big league team. Moeller, who has bounced through five teams since 2006, is hoping to stick with the Orioles as long as he can.

Corey Brock has spring trianing video of Chase Headley demonstrating how he has to throw differently in making the conversion from third base to left field.

Bush Traded to Toronto, Takes Hayhurst’s Roster Spot


Matt Bush, has been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays today for a player to be named later. To make room on the 40-man roster another former Wizard, Dirk Hayhurst has been released, whom they acquired on waivers from the Padres last October.

This is not stupid because of Bush’s past. It’s the susequent move of releasing Hayhurst that is stupid. Sure, he’s a “non-prospect” but he has major league experience and a level of maturity. Bush has neither and might never. Talk about tripping over a dollar to pick up a dime! (IMHO)

What You Might Have Missed Monday

Matt Bush Update – Padres Career All But Over

Matt Bush in 2005I thought about simply tagging this onto the previous post on Matt Bush – but then I thought more about it and wanted to give it proper attention.

Remember back to 2004, when the Padres – amid much criticism – drafted the hometown boy Matt Bush with the number one overall pick? They passed up Steven Drew and JAred Weaver. They passed over many others hwo have already gone onto to play and produce at the Major League level.

The DFA that occured a couple days ago probably surprised many given the fact that the Padres had protected him in the recent Rule 5 Draft.

However, since being drafted, Bush has been arrested – three times, he’s failed to hit at even low-A ball (which I would think a top overall pick could do), and he’s converted to a pitcher in a last ditch effort to have a career. The next stop was Tommy John surgery and another season on San Diego’s dime. And now, just as opportunity starts to peak out over the horizon, Bush self destructs yeat again.

A witness, who requested his name not be used because of the ongoing police investigation, said Bush was drunk, threw a golf club into the dirt, picked up and threw a freshman lacrosse player and hit another one. Bush also yelled “I’m Matt (expletive) Bush,” and “(expletive) East County,” before driving over a curb in his Mercedes when leaving the campus, according to the witness [SignOnSanDiego].

You may also be interested in Police interview alleged victims, witnesses in Matt Bush case.

The bottom line is that there is a very real possibility that Matt Bush’s career might be over. One run-in at age 18 after becoming a millionaire might be chalked up to youthful immaturity. However, what we have here is a pattern of self destruction. I imagine the Padres have recognized this and even suspect they’ve tried to intervene to help mentor and nurture the million dollar baby.

Parting ways might now be the only choice and the best thing for Matt Bush. If he does catch on elsewhere, I surely hope the team that takes a chance on him have a plan to build this young man’s character as well as his talents. If he doesn’t catch on, I hope he gets the help he needs to continue life – albeit one that is filled with the regret of having wasted enormous talent.

Photo by Chad Gramling. Special thanks to a reader who brought the SignOnSanDeigo links to my attention.

Matt Bush Designated for Assignment

The San Diego Padres signed veteran outfielder CLiff Floyd today. To makelroom on their 40-man roster, San Diego designated former number one overall pick, Matt Bush, for assignment. The move doesn’t mean Bush’s San Diego career are over, as was evidenced by Eddie Bonine’s recent DFA in Detroit. He was placed on their 40 man roster to protect him in the recent Rule 5 draft.

However, Paul DePodesta points out in his comments section that if there is sufficient interest, Bush could be traded to another club:

. . . by designating Matt we create a window to explore trade opportunities. We intend to do so.

The Padres now have 10 days to trade, release or assign Bush outright to the minor leagues.

UPDATE: It seems that there may be more the Matt Bush DFA than the Cliff Floyd signing [hat tip to FriarForecast]. In fact, the Floyd signing might have nothing to do with it. As reported here:

Padres CEO Sandy Alderson issued a statement declaring that the team was investigating a recent incident involving Bush, who received a club-record $3.15 million signing bonus in 2004.

“The Padres have learned of a possible off-field incident earlier this week involving Matt Bush,” Alderson said in the statement. “We are still gathering information about this incident and will have no further comment at this time.”

Additionally, Padres GM Kevin Towers stated that:

“The Matt Bush era is probably over . . . If we’re not able to work out a trade, we’ll release him at the point in time. … It didn’t work out.”

Looks like it’s pretty definitive. Given the troubled history that Bush has had and the number of “second chances” that the Padres have patiently provided, seems that this was inevitable. However, the potential is still there. He might be able to come back from his injury and piece together a solid career if you can develop some maturity and keep out of trouble.

Would you want your team to take a chance on trading for Bush or signing him after his release? Comment on this post.

Related Matt Bush posts:

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Link, Blanks, Peavy, Hunter

I’ve got a lot to catch up on. Here’s some Fort fragments on the Wizards that might interest you:

Baseball America thinks former Wizard Jon Link will emerge as a one of those guys who was drafted late and then go on to become servicable big leaguers. In other words, he was a steal. Sadly for the Padres, Link is now within the White Sox organization.

Link, 24, was excellent last season for Double-A Birmingham, finishing with a 3.02 ERA in 56 2/3 innings as the Barons’ closer. Link struck out 66 batters, averaging 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Link throws three pitches for strikes: a 90-92 mph fastball with some sink, a slider and a changeup. Link goes to his above-average slider for strikeouts, but his changeup is more than a show-me pitch and is an effective third weapon. There was some talk of moving Link to the starting rotation because of his three-pitch mix, but the White Sox will leave him in the bullpen. He still has to learn to harness his control, as he walked 27 batters (4.3 per nine) last year, though he was better in 2007 in high Class A when he walked just 15 batters in 58 2/3 innings (2.3 per nine).

Speaking of Baseball America, Justin Cassel the brother of former Wizards pitcher, Jack Cassel, and New England Patriots Quarterback, Matt Cassel, didn’t make it into the prospect handbook, but he did make the 32nd team.

Keeper League GM disagrees with Baseball America’s selection of Kyle Blanks as the Padres top prospect. I think I  disagree with Keeper League GM, but I’ve been a fan of Blanks since he played in Fort Wayne so I am a little biased. Porter’s Prospects calls Blanks the sixth best MLB first base prospect of 2009. There’s a lot of talk that Blanks is blocked because of Adrian Gonzalez’s presence at first base, but Blanks will get an extended audition this spring while Gonzalez is plaing in the WBC. There’s also the possibility that Blanks could play outfield. I doubt it IMHO.

Former Wizard, Freddy Guzman will be in Mariner’s camp as a non roster invitee.

Speaking of Spring Taining, the Padres will have several positions up for grabs. Some former Wizards who are likely candidates for winning spots include; Matt Antonelli, Mike Ekstrom, Josh Geer, Wade LeBlanc, Drew Macias and Will Venable. Other former Wizards who will be in camp include; Kyle Blanks, Greg Burke, Matt Bush, Mitch Canham, Peter Ciofrone, Luis Durango, Ernesto Frieri, Chad Huffman, Mat Latos, Jose Lobaton, Jackson Quezada and Nick Schmidt.

Burke and Quezada are profiled with other Padres relievers over at Friar Forecast. Bryan Oland is also in that list.

SignOnSanDiego is projecting Cedric Hunter to been roaming Petco’s center field as a 22-year-old next season. Mabye, but the competition is fierce. They’re also counting on Nick Hundley to continue his progress this season and shore up a weak catching crop.

MadFriars recently gathered 2008 reflections from Wizards radio guy, Mike Maahs.

The Start Kyle Orton blog has a profile of two former Wizards, Luis Rivas and Bobby Scales, who are non-roster invtees of the Cubs.

The Fort Wayne Wizards came to Fort Wayne from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Looks like they’ll have baseball again in a couple years. According to ESPN, “Kevin Costner says he’s chosen the northeastern Illinois town of Zion as the location for a new team, which will be part of the Northern League in 2010.” Looks like it’s just a 20 minute drive. But heck, for all I know, they may have plenty of baseball in that area already.

Jake Peavy won the Clyde McCullough Award as the team’s top pitcher on Thursday at the Padres-UCP of San Diego County Awards Dinner.  First baseman Kyle Blanks won Minor League Player of the Year. Jeremy Hefner won Pitcher of the Year. BaseballinFortWayne.com was honered with . . . nothing. It wasn’t even mentioned.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Freese, Blanks, Link, +more

Lots of items being written about Wizards alumni lately. I’ve been sitting on a few of the links, so they may be a bit older, but are still relevant and worth the read. Feast on these:

Anthony Contreras (Former Saltdogs Still Chasing Big-League Dreams) is one of a handful of former Lincoln Saltdogs who have gone from Indy leaguer to minor league prospect.

Matt Teague (Relief on the way with Teague) discusses his transition from starting pitcher to reliever, changing his mechanics and his unexpected adventures at Triple-A.

David Freese is the subject of a solid Prospect Watch at rotoprofessor. Cardinals’ general manager John Mozeliak has also stated that Freese may see time at several positions during Spring Training; which is why they aren’t pursuing a backup at first or third during the offseason.

Kyle Blanks’ future with San Diego may be as trade material due to being sandwiched between Adrian Gonzalez and Allan Dykstra according to Marc Hulet at FanGraphs. Speaking of Blanks, he is number three on Project Prospects top five prospect risers in the San Diego System. Kellen Kulbacki, Cedric Hunter, Chase Headley and Steve Garrison are the others. Observers will also note that local native, Jarrod Parker makes the cut ont he Arizona list.

Luis Cruz, according to Black and Gold, still remains a viable option for the Pirates’ infield; especially if Jack Wilson is traded.

Jon Link’s walk rate went up a bit when he went from High-A to Double-A ball. SoxMachine has a theory.

JJ Furmaniak got his MLB cup of coffee with the Pirates and A’s then played 2008 in Japan after refusing his outright from Oakland. He’s back in the homeland. The Phillies gave him a non-roster invite to Spring Training. Speaking of Japan, Dirk Hayhurst’s latest NonProspect Diary talks about the Japan route a minor leaguer might take.

Freddy Guzman was traded by the Rangers to the Tigers for Chris Shelton in 2007. The Dalla Observer rates that trade a C and thinks Guzman still has a chance to be a qualify fourth outfielder.

Cory Doyne was granted free agency from Baltimore.

Matt Bush has added a new pitch. Changeup.

Former Wizards pitching coach, Steve Webber will serve in that role with San Antonio in 2009. JoJo Tarantino, who has worked with the Wizards the last three seasons, will be the Missions’ Athletic Trainer next season. former Wizards skipper, Randy Ready, is back for another round at Triple-A Portland after flirting with the job in Seattle during the offseason. Another former Wizards pitching coach, Wally Whitehurst will serve the role for the Pittsburgh Pirate’s High-A Lynchburg squad.

Finally, several former Wizards pop up on top prospect lists all over the web. Some of them include; Baseball Intellect [1-5] and [6-15], Padres Rundown [top 25], MadFriars’ (subscription required) Denis Savage [top 60] and John Conniff’s [top 30], Ducksnorts’ [top 10],