Bush joined Milwaukee at the 2022 trade deadline, heading over from the Rangers in a deal that sent utility player Mark Mathias and pitching prospect Antoine Kelly to Texas. The hard-throwing righty was sitting on a 2.95 ERA while fanning just under 30% of opposing hitters at the time of the swap. Milwaukee hoped for more of the same, but the 37-year-old struggled upon landing in American Family Field.
In 23 innings down the stretch, Bush posted a 4.30 ERA while seeing his homer rate spike. The velocity and whiffs led Milwaukee to retain him on a $1.85MM arbitration salary. Bush’s results continued going in the wrong direction, punctuated by a blown save last Friday.
Milwaukee was operating with a thin bullpen in a divisional matchup against the Pirates. The Brewers entrusted Bush with the ninth inning holding a two-run lead. The veteran allowed hits to three of five batters faced, including a Carlos Santana walk-off homer. It was the fifth longball he’d surrendered in 10 1/3 innings this season.
Asked about using Bush to close things out after the game, manager Craig Counsell told the Milwaukee beat “(he’s) on the roster and he hasn’t pitched in a while and he was fresh, and it was his job to get the outs in the ninth. He just couldn’t get them,” (relayed by Adam McCalvy of MLB.com).
A day later, the Brewers moved on. Bush is out of minor league option years, so a DFA was the only way to take him off the big league club. He crossed the five-year MLB service threshold earlier in the season, so he’d have the right to decline an outright assignment while retaining his salary. Rather than go through that process, Milwaukee released him entirely.
The Brewers remain on the hook for that sum. If another team adds Bush to their MLB roster, they’ll only owe him the prorated portion of the $720K minimum. He’s likely to attract interest based on his results in Texas and swing-and-miss upside, but his recent struggles might limit him to minor league offers.