Matt Bush, former #1 overall pick by the Padres in 2004, is now pitching for the Texas Rangers. He finally made the “show” for the first time ever last May. It is has been a very long road, with too many years of turmoil and failure both in baseball and life. But now he has made it.
Long time San Diego Padre fans drop their heads down and utter four letter words when they hear the name “Matt Bush”. Many equate his name with the Chargers all time biggest bust “Ryan Leaf”
Matt was selected number one overall in the 2004 draft. A local boy from Mission Bay high school with a gun for a shortstop arm. He hit for average and even pitched for his team, posting a 5-1 record. It all looked bright for him, except he was NOT the Padres first choice.
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Justin, who was taken #2, has had the best career, all with the Detroit Tigers. In 2011 He won the CY Young and AL’s Most Valuable player award. In addition, his social life is not too bad either being engaged to super model Kate Upton.
Why didn’t Padres owner John Moores choose one of those guys?? Drew and Jared were represented by Scott Boras. Moores hated Boras and did not want to deal with him at all. Justin made it known he wanted a HUGE and unthinkable signing bonus, Something Moores did not want to pay either, but the Detroit Tigers were all too willing to pony up.
Thus, because of MONEY, Matt Bush was selected number 1. He was given a 3.5 million dollar signing bonus, the second largest amount at the time by the Padres, but FAR less than what the other three wanted. Weaver dropped to pick #12 and Drew to pick #15, all because of Scott Boras.
To John Moores it all seemed logical. What the heck, the 4th best prospect was a local kid and made for a good story. He would sell lots of tickets when his “star” made it to the Major Leagues. So screw Boras and Verlander, John Moores had his guy.
Draft day was the highlight of Matt Bush’s Padre career. He was suspended before he even started. Through the next several years he could not hit above .220. The Padres converted him to a pitcher which had promise, as he had a mid 90’s fast ball. Then an elbow injury and Tommy John surgery in 2007. Padres stuck with him another two years and then waived him in 2009.
Trips to the minors with Toronto and Tampa Bay failed in both baseball and with the law. (Through those years several DUI’s). He was out of baseball in 2011. Soon prison for injuring a person while driving drunk. In late 2015, shortly after being released from prison, Texas took a chance and signed him to a minor league contract.
Matt was known as only the third #1 pick overall who never made it to the show. On May 13, 2016, almost 12 years after being drafted, he erased that tag by pitching an inning for Texas Rangers. All in relief he currently is 3-1 and a 2.39 ERA in 27 games. Over 26 innings he has 25k’s. The Rangers are happy but not as much as Matt, finally proving himself. The closest he will get to San Diego this year is when Texas is at the LA Angels this week. Maybe Petco Park next year. What a story line that would be!!
Rather than being upset with the then immature 18 year old who was way over his head, Padres fans are still mad at John Moores for penny pinching, (What could have it been like with Justin Verlander on the mound for the Padres these last 10 yrs.). Sigh…..
Congrats to you Matt Bush!! Hope it continues for you.