Texas Rangers: Free agent Matt Bush signs two-year Minor League deal
By Kenneth Nash
In a flurry of smaller free agent signings on Monday, the Texas Rangers re-signed RHP Matt Bush to a two-year Minor League deal.
Monday afternoon, the Texas Rangers made a handful of smaller free agent signings that were announced at the same time as Joely Rodriguez’s more notable two-year, $5.5 million deal. In the smaller, minor league contracts, the one that stood out is that RHP Matt Bush will remain with the organization after signing a two-year minors contract.
Bush, who will be 34 to start the 2020 season, missed all of 2019 due to injury and then underwent Tommy John surgery this summer. That means he likely will miss most if not all of the 2020 season but will be under contract for the 2021 season. While signing a reliever in his early-30’s knowing that he will have missed two full seasons between his last appearance isn’t a par for the course move, Texas seems confident in the potential of Bush.
Bush, despite being 33, has very little by way of professional pitching innings on his arm. Originally a first round pick of the Padres back in 2004, Bush went through a series of legal troubles often stemming from alcohol use that seemingly derailed his big league career. The worst incident landed him 39 months in prison. However, shortly after serving his time, the Rangers signed Bush to a minor-league deal with hopes they could help him right the course of his career.
He made his big league debut in 2016 and was stellar as a reliever making 58 appearances and posting a 2.48 ERA, a 2.74 FIP and a 0.941 WHIP. In 2017 he was reliable once again making 57 more appearances with a 3.78 ERA and a career-best 10.0 K/9 rate. His 2018 season was a bit rougher and after 21 relief outings he was sent to Triple-A to work on his control.
Obviously the injuries to his pitching arms are a concern but last we saw Bush in game action, he still featured a high-90’s fastball and has the ability to be a late-inning reliever when he’s pitching well. The Rangers feel that Bush still features that potential and want to keep him with the organization once he’s healthy.
Along with Bush and Rodriguez, Texas announced minor-league deals for catcher Blake Swihart, reliever Tim Dillard who was with the organization last season, lefty pitcher Bryan Flynn, and right-hander Arturo Reyes.