And with that, a dark chapter in Padres history has come to a close.
Yesterday, news of the release of Matt Bush, to make room for free agent Cliff Floyd (whose acquisition I like), came down with a chorus of WTFs. How could Bush and his 95 MPH fastball get cut over the Joe Thatchers of the 40 man roster? Last night, we found out why:
El Cajon police Lt. Steve Shakowski yesterday confirmed an investigation involving Bush and allegations of assaultive behavior and public intoxication. 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.
As you might remember, Bush’s Padre career began under similar circumstances when, less than two weeks after he was made the number one pick overall, he was arrested outside of a Peoria bar. He followed this up with a short stint as a terrible shortstop, ending his offensive career with an OBP and SLG both below .300.
Bush finally provided reason for confidence when the team moved him to the mound. A pitcher in high school, Bush was clocked at 95 and struck out 16 in 7.2 innings, before the team shut him down with a torn ligament in his pitching elbow. After sitting out the entire 2008 season, this was to be the year that Bush started making good on his highest of high draft pick. But now, he’ll have to do that on another team.
I literally feel uncomfortable discussing Matt Bush. The team has done so much to distance themselves from his pick, which has to be at the top of the list of low points for the team. Grady Fuson and Sandy Alderson came onboard to solidify the team’s decision making after they passed on Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, and Stephen Drew in the 2004 draft. The team went discount when they chose Matt Bush and they’ve paid for it.
Of course, Alderson’s now gone, but his replacement might be the silver lining to this story.
It was Jeff Moorad’s Diamondbacks who made Justin Upton the number one pick in the 2005 draft, and Moorad has a reputation for being aggressive in the draft, getting praise from Scott Boras, of all people, who said:
“Jeff believes in going after draft picks,” said agent Scott Boras, a former rival of Moorad’s whose yearly stable of future clients includes several players chosen in the first round. “You’ve got to remember: Jeff cut his teeth in the baseball business representing draft players.”
Since Moorad took over, the Diamondbacks have used their first round picks on Upton, Max Scherzer, Jarrod Parker, and Dan Schlereth. Upton and Scherzer have already become productive members of the major league team, while Parker is a top 20 prospect in baseball, and Schlereth has jumped to the top of Arizona’s system. The Padres have had less luck in the past four years, with none of their four picks scheduled to begin the season in San Diego.
This is especially promising, as the Padres have the third pick in the 2009 draft. With Grant Green or Alex White dropping to the Padres spot, it’s likely that the team will have Matt Bush looking over their shoulder, even if he’s not in the system anymore. But using this pick wisely might help to finally brush him off.
Ray Update: Bush has been traded to the Blue Jays for a PTBNL.