The Rangers are calling up Matt Bush.
Twelve years ago, Bush was drafted No. 1 overall by the San Diego Padres. Then his life spun out of control. He ended up serving three years in prison for running a man down while driving drunk. It was the last of a series of alcohol-related incidents which all but ended Bush’s baseball career before his final accident ultimately did. He was released last fall and signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, subject to serious oversight, including the requirement that his father live with him.
Bush is now 30. He’s also now a reliever. In the early going this season Bush has recorded five saves, 18 strikeouts and four walks in 17 innings with Double-A Frisco. The Rangers obviously feel that his stuff — which was clocked at 95 m.p.h. last fall despite him being out of baseball since 2011 — is good enough to handle the majors. They apparently feel that Bush the person is able to handle it too.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.