Whenever you look at the Rays’ 40-man roster on their official website, you immediately notice something alarming. Third down on the list is Matt Bush. Who is Matt Bush? The former number one pick in 2004 by the San Diego Padres- and also currently in jail for nearly killing someone after while driving his friend’s car when he was under the influence of alcohol and also had his license suspended. Why in the world is this player still on the Rays’ 40-man roster?
Simple answer is that he’s not. You can see next to his name on the roster the word “Restricted.” What does that mean? He’s on the Rays’ restricted list meaning that he is currently not being paid by the team and ineligible to play in any game at any level of their organization until he is removed.
That’s great. If the Rays were wasting a roster spot on a player currently in jail, that would be absolutely inexcusable. But nevertheless, why in the world are the Rays willing to take a public relations hit every time a fan looks at their 40-man roster and see someone who did terrible things and got sent to jail for them right at the top?
The Rays are all about efficiency. The reason Matt Bush hasn’t been released is because if they were to release him, he could sign with another team if he ever gets out of jail. What difference does that make? Matt Bush throws 95 MPH with a sharp curveball. Before his stupid decision, he had a real chance to be an impact reliever in the major leagues. If he ever gets out of jail, he still does. The Rays look to all possible avenues to find productive players. Matt Bush is the prime example of that. Maybe they’ll release him anyway following the season because of the PR aspect. But know that the Rays leave no stone unturned in their search for talent and will do whatever it takes to put the best team they can on the field.
Robbie is the rare Pennsylvania Rays fan and is passionate about the Rays, statistics, Pitch F/X data and just about everything related to baseball. You can check out Robbie’s writing multiple times a day at Rays Colored Glasses, where he has been writing since December of 2012. Robbie can be found on Twitter @RobbieKnopf or you can email him at [email protected]