To quote Lorenzo from A Bronx Tale: “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” While this quote had nothing to do with the career of Matt Bush, it can certainly apply.
The former number one pick overall of the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft by the San Diego Padres, Bush’s career has been a tale of wasted talent and blown chances. Taken ahead of players such as Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver, Bush flamed out as a minor league shortstop before being converted to a pitcher where he began to find success.
Yet, Bush was unable to keep himself out of trouble. Even before being drafted, he was arrested on suspicion of felony assault, misdemeanor trespass, disorderly conduct, and underage drinking, after he allegedly fought with security trying to escort him out at a bar, causing him to begin his professional career with a suspension. In 2009, he was allegedly involved in a drunken assault at a high school, leading to his being removed from the Padres 40 man roster, and subsequent trade to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays released him not even two months later after he violated their zero tolerance policy for his behavioral issues, leading to Bush being completely out of baseball for 2009.
The Rays took a chance on Bush, signing him to a minor league contract in 2010. At that point, he appeared to finally tap into his potential, and appeared on his way towards becoming a useful piece in the bullpen. In his 2010 campaign, split between the GCL Rays and the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Bush appeared in 10 games, producing a 1-0 record and a save with a 3.29 ERA, allowing only 9 hits and 3 walks, striking out 20 in 13.2 innings of work. He continued to show promise in 2011, producing a 5-3 record with 5 saves. Even though his ERA was high at 4.83, he gave up only 48 hits and 24 walks in 50.1 innings, striking out 77 batters. Bush appeared as though he may finally be on his way to reaching the major leagues.
Continuing his life pattern, Bush’s predilection for trouble once again reared it’s ugly head. This time, in March 2012, he was arrested and charged with 2 counts of DUI with property damage, one count of DUI with serious bodily injury, one count of leaving the scene of an accident with an injury, one count of driving with a suspended license, and 2 counts of leaving the scene of an accident with damage to property. Following his arrest, Bush was placed on the suspended list, with GM Andrew Friedman stating that Bush had played his last game with the Rays. True to his word, Bush was released once the season concluded, perhaps closing the door on his final chance in professional baseball.
Matt Bush appeared to finally be on the path to success, but threw it all away. Now he may just become a cautionary tale, someone mentioned to top prospects with a tendency to get into trouble in an attempt to keep them on the straight and narrow.