Matt Bush Rumors

Quick Hits: Cain, Int’l Prospects, Bush, Boras

Matt Cain has been placed on the 15-day DL in order to recover from a cut on his right index finger that already cost him one start earlier this week.  While making a sandwich in the Giants’ clubhouse last Tuesday, Cain dropped a knife and tried to catch it in mid-air, cutting his finger in the process.  While the injury isn’t serious and Cain could return to the rotation as early as Saturday, the Giants ace may have earned himself a mention in future lists of oddball MLB injuries.

Here are a few notes from around the baseball world…

  • The Rangers have done the best job of signing international prospects since 2006, as ranked by Baseball America’s Ben Badler.  Not only has Texas signed 14 international players (the second-most of any team in that span), but several of them are making waves in the minors and the likes of Martin Perez, Leonys Martin and Jurickson Profar have contributed to the Major League club.  The Royals, Pirates, Twins and Red Sox round out the rest of the top five in Badler’s rankings.
  • Former first overall draft pick Matt Bush is halfway through a 51-month prison sentence and he talks to FOX Sports’ Gabe Kapler about his regrets and his battles with alcoholism.
  • Scott Boras’ inability to adapt to the new qualifying offer system in free agency is why clients Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew are still waiting for new contracts, Scout.com’s Kiley McDaniel opines.  While Boras has pulled impressive deals seeming out of nowhere for many clients in the past, McDaniel argues that teams have more information now and are less apt to give up a draft pick or commit major dollars to “second tier free agents.”
  • Fangraphs’ David Laurila catches up with right-hander Mike Ekstrom about playing in Italy and his Baseball Round The World website, which chronicles the experiences of Ekstrom and other players who continue their careers in far-flung locales.  Ekstrom pitched 61 Major League innings with the Padres, Rays and Rockies from 2008-12 and spent last season at the Triple-A level in the Athletics’ and Angels’ systems.

Rays Release Matt Bush

The Rays have released Matt Bush, reports Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). The former first overall pick is still incarcerated following a DUI charge in Spring Training. He was on both the 40-man roster and restricted list all season.

Bush, 26, pitched to a 4.83 ERA with 13.8 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 50 1/3 relief innings for Tampa Bay's Double-A affiliate in 2011. The Padres originally drafted him as a shortstop with the top pick in 2004, but a lack of production and off-the-field issues stunted his development. 


Rays Place Matt Bush On Restricted List

The Rays placed former first overall selection Matt Bush on the restricted list, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune tweets. The move creates 40-man roster space for Tampa Bay.

Bush was arrested for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident earlier this spring. The 26-year-old spent last season at Double-A, posting a 4.83 ERA with 13.8 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 50 1/3 innings of relief. The Padres selected him first overall in 2004.

Players on the restricted list do not count toward a team's 25-man or 40-man roster. They do not accrue service time and they don't always get paid.



AL East Notes: Bush, Snider, Roberts, Valentine

We've already published one batch of AL East Notes today, but there's plenty more happening in the division….

  • "I think it's safe to say that he's not going to play for us on the field," Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said in regards to Matt Bush.  Speaking to media (including The Tampa Tribune's Roger Mooney) for the first time since Bush was charged with a DUI with bodily injury for his alleged role in a car accident, Friedman said he was surprised at the incident given how well the troubled Bush had performed in his battle with alcholism.  Bush, the first overall pick of the 2004 draft, signed a minor league deal with the Rays in 2010 and has yet to reach the Major Leagues in his pro career.
  • Travis Snider is becoming the kind of "devalued asset" that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos usually tries to acquire from other teams, writes Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi.  Even if the Jays feel Snider won't be able to perform for them, dealing him for fair value will be difficult given that Snider's trade value is at a low point.
  • Brian Roberts tells reporters (including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com) that the Orioles will put him on the 15-day disabled list to start the season as he continues to recover from concussion symptoms.  The fact that it's the 15-day DL and not the 60-day DL is a positive sign for Roberts' chances of returning to playing.
  • Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told reporters (including Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston) that he was satisfied with his roster and didn't think the club needed any new acquisitions before Opening Day.  Valentine also denied rumors of a "potential rift" between he and general manager Ben Cherington.
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America runs down each AL East team's international signings of the past year.
  • In case you missed it earlier today, the Blue Jays signed Dustin McGowan to a contract extension.

AL East Notes: Jays, Soriano, Farnsworth, Arroyo

Some news items from the AL East…

  • Toronto's payroll could end up being in the $80-$85MM range, tweets FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi.  The Blue Jays currently have just under $49MM committed for 2011 (according to Cot's Baseball Contracts) and have eight players eligible for arbitration.  Jose Bautista will get the biggest raise of this group, but even with notables like Yunel Escobar and Brandon Morrow also arb-eligible, the Jays should have a bit of money left to spend beyond settling their arbitration cases.
  • Perhaps the Jays' extra money could be spent on Brian Fuentes?  We heard about Toronto's interest in Fuentes earlier this week, and now SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Jays are still "pressing for" the free agent reliever.
  • Did Scott Boras wait too long for a Rafael Soriano market to develop?  Fangraphs' R.J. Anderson thinks this might be the case, and that Soriano might have to settle another one-year contract with the hopes of finding a long-term deal next offseason.
  • A bit of early reaction to Tampa Bay's agreement with Kyle Farnsworth: CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler thinks the signing is risky, but believes the Rays need to take chances on their bullpen if they want to contend.  Meanwhile, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs thinks the Rays made a better deal for Farnsworth than Boston did with Bobby Jenks, given that Farnsworth and Jenks put up comparable numbers over the last two seasons.
  • Bronson Arroyo tells Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald that he enjoyed pitching for the Red Sox and wouldn't mind returning: "Even though I can safely say that I’ve cemented myself in Cincinnati for a while, [Boston] definitely still feels like home and in the back of my mind I know that there is no better place to play than in Fenway Park."  Arroyo said when his three-year extension with the Reds runs out after the 2013 season, he would be interested in pitching for the Rays (to play close to his family), returning to the Red Sox, or staying in Cincinnati.
  • MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli has details on the vesting option included in Kevin Gregg's contract with the Orioles.  Gregg's 2013 option will become guaranteed if he finishes 50 games in 2012, or if he finishes 100 games total in 2011-12.  As SI's Jon Heyman tweeted in the previous link, Gregg will earn between $6-$10MM in 2013 if his option vests.
  • Matt Bush, the first overall pick of the 2004 draft, talks to MLB.com's Dawn Klemish about his battle with alcoholism and the progress he's made in the Tampa Bay organization.

Odds & Ends: D’Backs, Red Sox, Simmons, Bush

We're now less than 12 hours away from the start of free agency. Here are some links to help you pass the time…

  • The Diamondbacks have outrighted pitchers Leo Rosales and Clay Zavada off the 40-man roster according to the team's official Twitter feed
  • Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe places odds on each of the Red Sox's four free agents returning the team. 
  • Larry Larue of The Tacoma Tribune reports that the Mariners have hired Ted Simmons as a senior advisor to GM Jack Zduriencik. Simmons was in the mix for various managerial jobs.
  • The Rays have added Matt Bush, the first overall pick in 2004, to their 40-man roster according to The Tampa Tribune (Twitter link). Bush would have been eligible for minor league free agency otherwise. 
  • Joel Sherman of The New York Post hears from a source that Terry Collins is anywhere from "a strong candidate to the front-runner" for the Mets managerial job. Collins will interview with new GM Sandy Alderson this weekend, and has a backer in Fred Wilpon. He's also a favorite of Paul DePodesta, who Alderson is trying to lure to New York.
  • Don Wakamatsu has plenty of job opportunities these days. FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweets that he has an offer to become the Blue Jays bench coach, an interview for the Mets manager's job forthcoming, and is also in the mix to be Baltimore's bench coach. 
  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik unsurprisingly declined to comment about Hisashi Iwakuma two days ago, according to Larry Stone of The Seattle Times. Last night we heard that the Mariners appear to be the favorites to land the righty.
  • Robert MacLeod of The Globe And Mail passes along a quote from Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos in which he indicates a willingness to bringing Kevin Gregg back. He just wasn't comfortable with the price of the reliever's options, which is why they were declined.
  • Scott Boras told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that the Phillies "have the ability to do what they need to do to retain their players," referring to Jayson Werth. He compared Philadelphia's financial situation to that of the Yankees 
  • Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News offers some good and bad news about the Rangers' catching situation.
  • Henry Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle speculates that the Giants will keep an eye on Derek Jeter's negotiations with the Yankees. GM Brian Sabean ran New York's farm system when Jeter was drafted, so there's a connection there in the unlikely event that he can't work out a deal with the Yanks.

Rays Notes: Bush, Bennett

Notes on one pitcher who may appear on the Rays this year and one who won't:

  • Matt Bush, the player the Padres selected first overall in the 2004 draft, may make it to the majors with the Rays, according to Tom Krasovic of Fanhouse. Bush has only pitched three innings at A ball this year, but the Rays people Krasovic spoke to wouldn't be surprised to see Bush in the majors this year.
  • The Rays released Jeff Bennett, according to Cork Gaines of RaysIndex. The team's media relations department confirmed the release to MLBTR. Bennett, now 29, made 11 appearances for the Rays last year. In 10.2 innings at Triple A Durham, Bennet posted 8.4 BB/9 and 5.9 K/9 this year.

Rays Sign Matt Bush

The Rays signed pitcher Matt Bush to a minor league deal, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times

Bush, now 24, was the first overall pick by the Padres in the 2004 draft.  A shortstop at the time, Bush's signability pushed him past Stephen Drew, Jered Weaver, and Jeff Niemann on Kevin Towers' list.  He was arrested on felony assault charges weeks after the draft, resulting in a suspension.  Injuries hampered his progress, and the Padres converted him to pitching in May of '07.  He had Tommy John surgery later that year.

Bush was charged with assault again in February of '09, and the Padres designated Bush for assignment and traded him to the Blue Jays.  The Jays released him in April, and more incidents surfaced in June.


Blue Jays Release Matt Bush

According to Robert MacLeod of The Globe and Mail, the Blue Jays released pitcher Matt Bush today.  The Jays picked up Bush from the Padres this winter, and he quickly violated their zero tolerance policy with some kind of bad behavior.