Texas Rangers starter Martin Perez is expected to miss the beginning of the season after suffering an injury this off-season. Could reliever Matt Bush fill-in for Perez and join the rotation to start 2018?
Since the end of the 2017 season, there have been discussions that reliever Matt Bush could convert into the starting rotation. Could the recent injury to Martin Perez mean the Texas Rangers give Bush a shot to join the rotation?
The 31-year-old Bush, went 3-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 57 games with 10 saves. He’s pitched in two full seasons with the Rangers, but has yet to make a start with them. Bush hasn’t made a start since 2010, when he was in the minor leagues with the Tampa Bay Rays.
His 2017 campaign was a bit of a disappointment after his fantastic rookie campaign. Bush went 7-2 with a 2.48 ERA 58 games with one save in 2016. He struck out 61 batters and was an electric arm in the Rangers bullpen.
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Bush is a hard-throwing righty that relies heavily on his fastball. That’s fine when you’re facing a couple batters out of the pen. If he joins the rotation, Bush will need better command of his off-speed pitches.
The Rangers want to stretch Bush out this spring, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work. Plenty of pitchers have failed to convert from the bullpen into the rotation. It’s a difficult transition, especially without much experience in the role.
Moving Bush to the rotation doesn’t seem like the best move by the Rangers organization. If it does pan out, the most likely scenario is Bush makes a few spot starts for Perez in April. It’s unlikely we see Bush go from reliever to making 30 starts the next season.
There is a possibility of Bush joining the rotation to the start the season. Staying in the rotation long-term seems like a long shot, and is a risky move by the Rangers. We’ll wait and see what happens this spring.