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If you jumped ship on everybody every time they go bad, you'd never field a team in this league. (John Gibbons, May 28 2005.

Toronto Blue Jays optioned RHP Dave Bush to Triple-A Syracuse and recalled RHP Chad Gaudin from Triple-A Syracuse. (May 29, 2005)

I think this move is nuts on a number of levels...(Me, about six hours ago.)

So what I'm hoping is that those levels are not the reason for this move.

The two obvious reasons for this move: a) he didn't mind his Ps and Qs and the mound yesterday; b) he's got an 0-5 record. If either of those things had anything to do with today's move... well, that's nuts. But I think it's very likely that neither of these were the reason why. At least not directly.

First, Bush on the mound yesterday. I can't believe Gibbons or Ricciardi could possibly be upset by that. This was not a negotiation, by the way, as Arnsberg had already been out during the inning. Bush was very surprised and very disappointed when Gibbons came to get him - I was surprised as well - and he said so. It just can't be that big a deal, especially if anyone ever saw what sometimes could happen when Cito Gaston came out to get David Wells.

Yesterday, with two out and no runners on base in the fifth, Bush was surely thinking about the next hitter - Justin Morneau. Bush had retired Morneau both times earlier in the game, and all three times he'd faced him in last week's game. Gibbons, however, was surely thinking about the next pitcher, Scott Downs, now ready in the bullpen. Bush hadn't quite thrown 80 pitches, but he was working on three days rest. So Downs was going to enter the game very soon no matter what. If Bush gets Morneau out, fine: Downs comes out to start the sixth. But if Bush didn't get Morneau, Downs would be coming in to face a RH batter with a runner on base. So Gibbons decided there was no time like right now.

Anyway, I can't believe that was a factor, and Bush, Gibbons, and Ricciardi are all saying likewise.

The 0-5 record clearly troubles Bush:

even in some of the games I've gotten no-decisions, we haven't won either. For a team that's doing well, we need to get more wins out of that spot in the rotation.

But the 0-5 record wasn't mentioned by Gibbons. On the radio last week Ricciardi said that every year there's always one guy who never catches a break and never has any luck and that it was pretty clear who that guy was this year. Because that's all it is. Look, a tale of two pitchers:

           G GS  IP   H ER HR BB SO K/9 P/GS WHIP

Pitcher A 10 10 58.2 70 27  8  5 37 5.68 86.4 1.28
Pitcher B 10 10 53.1 59 29 10 10 26 4.39 86.0 1.29
Pitcher A's Game Scores: 66, 59, 16, 45, 60, 77, 68, 46, 29, 24. Average: 49.0

Pitcher B's Game Scores: 46, 61, 15, 69, 53, 54, 34, 61, 35, 40. Average: 46.8

They've each pitched five good games (GS better than 50), a couple mediocre ones (GS in the 40s), and three bad ones (GS below 40). They've each been betrayed once by the bullpen, turning over a lead which was then given up, costing them a W. And their team has scored exactly 48 runs in the 10 games started by Pitcher A, and exactly 48 runs in the 10 games started by Pitcher B.

One of these guys has a 5-3 record, and one has just been sent to Syracuse. Go figure. I'm sure you can all figure out which one is Josh Towers and which one is Dave Bush.

Gibbons didn't talk about Bush's W-L record on Saturday when he was talking about what's gone wrong. ("He's pitched better than his record indicates, in my opinion."). What Gibbons seems more concerned with is what he's seeing from Bush, rather than the actual results. And what he's seeing is a guy who is making pitching harder than it needs to be. A guy who is trying to be too fine:

We talked to him, too. 'Get away from trying to hit the corners when you're starting off. Get some over the plate, take your chances, let them put it in play. Then, when you get ahead, you can start picking a little bit more.

Pretty well all these quotes, by the way, are from Fordin's very fine Saturday night piece Getting Bush going a priority. I probably should have complimented him on it this afternoon, but I didn't want him to get a swelled head or anything...

Anyway - it's not about the attitude, it's not even about the results. It's about the pitching, and it's about what Gibbons is seeing - a young pitcher trying to be too fine, trying to make perfect pitches, but all too often falling behind and getting lit up.

Why would Bush be trying to make perfect pitches? Why is he making his job even harder than it is? Could it be because his manager seems to have a quick hook where he's concerned? Which is true, by the way. Could Bush be thinking that as soon as he gives up a couple of hits, the bullpen will start warming?

Well, that could be one reason.

But I think a more pressing reason Bush has been pitching this way - and I agree that he's looked out of sync - has been the situation of the games he's been in. Because his team has stubbornly refused to score any runs whenever he's out there, from Day One this season, Bush has always been in situations where he can't afford to allow any runs. He has had no margin for error, whatsoever.

Remember the 48 runs scored in Towers and Bush's starts? Only 19 of those runs - less than half - came while Bush was actually in the game. (The Jays gave Towers 34 runs he could actually enjoy, and make use of.) Bush did not pitch a single inning this year with his team ahead in the game until his sixth start, on May 6. (He turned the lead over to the pen, and they coughed it up.) This is how many runs the Jays have scored while Bush has been in the game:

2, 2, 1, 0, 3, 3, 5, 2, 0, 1

Anyway, I think that's why he's been nibbling, trying to be too fine, trying to make perfect pitches. No margin for error.

What does he need to do? Besides pitch a few innings with a lead, and learn how to relax on the mound a little?

I think his repertoire needs some work. Right now, he throws the two fastballs, a slider, and a slow curve. I think it's very difficult to command both a slider and a curve. There are guys who can do it, granted. But usually, one of the pitches ends up in the toilet. Bush has had the worst of both worlds. He's been having trouble throwing the curve for strikes, and the slider is getting hit.

If he could, I'd like to see him scrap one of them for a straight change, about 10 MPH slower than his fastball. That's about the speed of his slider, but you can't use a slider as a changeup. Major league hitters can recognize a slider as such much more quickly than they can identify a changeup. And when the slider flattens out... well, you all saw what Juan Castro did with a flat one on Saturday.

Now I was going to post this as a comment to Pepper’s Saturday Game Report, where this subject was originally being discussed, but I went and did it again, didn’t I? OK, Fordin, you’re right. Brevity is not one of my gifts! Here is a collection of some of the Bush-related commentary already posted:

Mike Green - Bush is not pitching the way he can, but he's not really hurting the ballclub. The won-loss record is not indicative of his performance, and Gibby undoubtedly realizes that.

mathesond - I think if Bush was 3-3, people would look at him the way they looked at Towers in '03 and '04 - occasionally competent, but nothing special until you factored in his age.

Gerry - I have not seen Bush pitch a lot this year but he looks like a pitcher who is not commanding all of his pitches. Bush has to be able to throw strikes with all of his pitches to be successful and I did not see that yesterday. I checked Bush's stats vs Towers and Bush is 20 points higher on OBP and 40 higher on SLG. I think three or four starts in AAA will get him back on track.

Rob - I don't get it at all. If he was sent down because he was "too emotional" after being removed from yesterday's game, it's a terrible move.

Dave Till - Jerry Howarth mentioned yesterday that Bush wasn't getting his curve ball over at all. Perhaps that's why he's being demoted: at least, I hope it's something like that, and not because of any personality differences between him and Gibbons.

Lefty - If Bush were 3-3 there would be no problem as there should be with the 0-5 record. His team is equally responsible for his record. Bush is just a step away from being a quality starting pitcher. One who had proven himself through the developemental stages of his career. Though I don't condemn the move to the minors I do have to wonder what the team is thinking. If I were to guess, Bush should have minded his P's & Q's on the mound yesterday.

Rob - Gibbons was just on the FAN with Jerry Howarth and he said, among other things, Bush was sent down because there's not as much pressure in AAA, he needs to get his curveball back, and he's not locating his fastball well. About yesterday: "No hard feelings...lots of worse things happen in this sport than that right there. When he's back up and doing well later on, we won't remember these days."

Ron - Despite JP saying yesterday's heated exchange had nothing to do with the demotion, I gotta believe it made the decision a lot easier. Bush showed up the skipper and now he's down in AAA. It will be interesting if Gaudin performs (assuming he's the replacement in the rotation) at a high level and everybody else in the rotation does well. I wonder where Bush will fit back in.

Jordan - I really, really dislike this move. Outside of three starts against the Red Sox, Bush has been extremely solid. He got no help from his defence yesterday, but that apparently counts against him. I'm glad he was angry when he got yanked -- that's what I want to see in a young pitcher, an unwillingness to back down and a competitive fire. I hope he's angry on this flight to Syracuse.

Bush has nothing left to prove at Triple-A -- he knows he can get those guys out. Hell, he knows he can get major-league hitters out. You don't send a rookie starter to the minors because he's having trouble getting his curveball over now and again. At worst, you send him to the bullpen to work it out -- and it's not like Bush has been getting shelled. he's pitching exactly as well as a young starter should, taking his lumps and learning from experience. This move serves neither the short-term nor the long-term interests of the ballclub. I simply don't understand it.

Oh, and here's a note for the front office: sending a young player down to Syracuse hasn't exactly worked wonders lately. Adam Peterson went down last season and cratered. Brandon League went down this year and is getting worse by the day. Gabe Gross went down after a week and still hasn't recovered. I'll lay even money that Bush is going to struggle once he arrives -- as far as he knows, he's on the outs with the organization and can't afford to make any more mistakes. I can't wait till Russ Adams gets sent down to "build up his confidence." All the other young Blue Jays have to be wondering today exactly how short their leash is.

I've disagreed with any number of moves made by the Blue Jays, to a greater or lesser extent, and I'm far from perfect in my assessments. But only twice has this team done something to make me fundamentally question the leadership. The first was the Catalanotto extension, which looked bad then and looks no better today, especially considering the impact on Gross. The other is this demotion of Dave Bush, a guy who needs to start 35 games in Toronto this year in order to be part of a contending team in 2006.

And by the way, I don't much like summoning Gaudin either. He'll presumably be plugged into the rotation, and I don't think he's going to handle the transition very well. He should have spent all year in Syracuse refining his stuff.

Many more moves like this and the question won't be when the Blue Jays will contend for the AL East title, but if.

Keith Talent - Demoting to the bullpen doesn't do much good to anyone. Then Bush would just become the forgotten man, not get to work on anything, and just take up a roster spot. Better he get some starts and work it out. And if these guys aren't mature enough to stand a trip to the minors and re-prove themselves, then I have to question whether they belong in the Majors. You don't keep a guy in the Majors because you fear a trip to the minors would hurt his feelings. You want to hurt their feelings and have them battle back. You want them angry and driven, to prove you wrong. C'mon, show us what you got! If Gross and those in the other examples can only mope in AAA, that's where they forever belong.

CaramonLS - Unless Gaudin is absolutely amazing, I see this as nothing more than a short term move to help him get his control back… he’s not pitching like David Bush can pitch. Hopefully he can find whatever he has lost and be back up to the Jays in a few weeks - this will give him the reps he needs.

The Roster Move: Bush down, Gaudin up | 38 comments | Create New Account
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uglyone - Sunday, May 29 2005 @ 08:11 PM EDT (#118050) #
I also think that this can only be a short term move designed to give him a) more innings and b) motivate him to just get his stuff in order.

He certainly doesn't belong in AAA, and I have little doubt that he'll mow down the batters there.

Of course, the jays are also taking the opportunity to take a look at Gaudin, who IMO is on the verge of not belonging in AAA either. They're almost using this as an excuse.

IMO, this move is more likely a precursor to potentially dropping or moving a guy like Towers, and/or just getting a feel for what they have as they approach trade time this season.

I might have missed it when I read through the thread leader, but I think we have to mention the fact that of Bush's 10 starts this season, 5 of them, fully half, have come against NYY, BOS, and BAL....who are by far the 3 best hitting teams in a league. (Texas is the only team that's remotely close to them this season).

For a young pitcher, a virtual rookie....posting a 1.29whip, 2.60k/bb, and 4.89era against that type of opposition is hardly "struggling".

Or, if that IS what we call "struggling" for Bush, then we must think he's a pretty darn good pitcher.
Maldoff - Sunday, May 29 2005 @ 09:16 PM EDT (#118053) #
Initially, I was terribly against this move. However, now that I've looked at a little more, I actually think that this is an effective move by Riccardi. Let me explain....

I DEFINATELY agree with everyone that Bush is a future contributor to the Jays as a number 3 starter. In fact, I have loved Bush since his days back at Wake Forest (and am a proud "Bush-wacker" - fan club I created). That being said, while he has pitched OK this season, he by no means has been as good as he has been in the past. The reason may be nibbling, or that he is worried about getting the hook, but I think it's more that he doesn't seem to be PITCHING right now, he's throwing. His curveball has no life, and that leaves him throwing fastballs 90% of the time, and major league hitters will figure that out. Sending him to AAA is definately better than banishing him to the bullpen, so long as Syracuse has a decent pitching coach (anyone know?).

Also, this move allows the Jays to take a look at Gaudin, who many here have mentioned is out of options after this year. So why not take a look at him for 3 weeks while Bush figures himself out? You get a free look, and get to see if Bush can respond to adversity, unlike Adam Peterson (and almost Brandon League).

That's my $0.02, so take it for what it's worth.
kpataky - Sunday, May 29 2005 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#118055) #
This move is one of desperation. Its an emabarressment to the organization. They should send the manager down. That's all I'm going to say.
Craig B - Sunday, May 29 2005 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#118056) #
I'm perfectly happy with this move, unlike (it seems) everybody else. Bush certainly hasn't shown that he doesn't belong, but if he has things to work on, there's every reason to have him work on them in the relatively low-pressure environment of Syracuse.

I have perfect faith that he'll be back in Toronto relatively soon, possibly as soon as the ten days he's required to spend in the minors. Meanwhile, if he's got specific things that he's been working on with Brad Arnsberg, he'll be able to continue that work in Syracuse without the added pressure of trying to break his duck on the mound for the big club. Ricciardi, Gibbons and Bush all talked about the need for him to find more consistency within his starts, something I happen to agree with. I have faith that he's not far away.

Meanwhile, look at who replaces Bush. Chad Gaudin has been pitching the lights out - I have no hesitation in saying he's probably been outpitching Dave Bush, even though Bush has been decent.

Like some others here, I am a huge fan of Dave Bush and I think he has a bright career as a major leaguer ahead of him if he stays healthy. There is absolutely no reason why a trip to the minor leagues at this point would derail him even in the slightest.
Mike Green - Sunday, May 29 2005 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#118059) #
As usual, Magpie and Jordan have already spoken for me. Their cheques are in the mail!

Managing the development of young players is perhaps the hardest job that an organization faces. Dave Bush is the rare young player who should be easy to manage; give him the ball every 5 days and let him work out of his own messes. Jerry Howarth told us a week or so ago that when Ted Lilly was struggling, he went to talk to Bush for advice. What does that say?
Cristian - Sunday, May 29 2005 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#118060) #
I was stuck at work and never saw what Bush did to 'show up' Gibbons. What exactly happened?
BallGuy - Sunday, May 29 2005 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#118061) #
I agree with Craig B. A demotion to the minors is not the end of the world. Hell, Halladay went all the way back to Dunedin for heaven's sake. Bush can go to Syracuse, work on some things, get his act together more than it already is and come back a better pticher. Lots of players go up and down between the majors and minors their first few seasons. This is not an embarassment to the organization; let's get some perspective here folks.
Gerry - Sunday, May 29 2005 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#118062) #
Bush was not pitching that well. The Jays are trying to win as many games as possible, and the team is being run by very competitive guys. The major leagues are generally not a good place to work out problems.

Lets say Bush stayed up and he still didn't get full control of his pitches, and in two weeks time he is 0-7 and has two more 4 or 5 inning appearances. Let him go down and get his act in gear while his confidence is not totally shot. Comparing him to Josh Towers is not a great comparison, if Gaudin pitches well and Towers doesn't get his act in gear, Bush could come back up to replace Josh.
Magpie - Sunday, May 29 2005 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#118063) #
I was stuck at work and never saw what Bush did to 'show up' Gibbons.

He spoke to him. Couldn't hear what he was saying, and the expression on his face didn't give much away. It looked like several sentences. Afterwards all he said was "I told him I wanted to stay in the game." (Which was no longer an option once Gibbons came out.) Anyway, it wasn't David Wells throwing the baseball down the third base line rather than hand it to the manager...

If the move is a reaction to that, or to the win-loss record - then I think it's dumb. If instead it's seen as a chnace for Bush to work on fixing some things without the pressure of trying to win in the majors, then I think it can be justified. With Bush, they the option to dop this - they didn't have it with Towers last year or Lilly this year.

StephenT - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 01:08 AM EDT (#118067) #
This move reminds me of the unnecessary demotions of Jose Cruz (in 1999) and Woody Williams (in 1994). My recollection is that neither player was down very long.
Dr. Zarco - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 01:45 AM EDT (#118070) #
A good amount of debate on this move, perhaps the most since the acquisition of Hillenbrand. Then the minority, at least thusfar, has won. I hope the minority saying this is a good move win here too. I am not not one of them however. I have read through the informed opinions on each side, and the only way this is acceptable to me if this is a <20 day deal. I like Bush a lot and just don't think he or how he was pitching deserves this. Although I suppose it's better than being given a ridiculously short leash as he has been the past few starts.
Jonathan - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#118080) #
I'm fine with this move. I don't think anyone think Bush has been struggling mightily. He's been inconsistent and I think his numbers are pretty indicative of a young pitcher learning to adapt to big league lineups. He's going to get things straightened out and will surely be back in the bigs as a productive starter for the Jays.

I like this move because it allows the Jays to prepare for the middle-third of the season. No doubt the Jays are in the (early) hunt for the Wild Card, more than would have been initially thought and so they must prepare for a greulling season of competitiveness (great!). Part of this means having cards to play come trading season (July). Their current roster does not have the spare pieces to trade, yet their minors are loaded with potentials that can be flipped for major league talent. Yet, to get full value for these players, they Jays need to show them perform at the big league level. Gaudin has been lights out in Syracuse - clearly there's nothing left for him at that level. Moving him to Toronto will showcase him for the Jays and the rest of the league. Solid performances by Gaudin will give the Jays more options for trading just as Hill's performace at third does - Hillenbrand becomes a viable trading option once Koskie comes back, just as solid performances by Gaudin (and Bush at AAA) would make Towers (or Gaudin) a trading option for an outfield bat.

Bush has been in the majors for just a year - it's not like we have a veteran major leaguer going down to AAA. He will improve his craft where the spotlight is not on. I think we should look at this move as an embarassement of (future) riches for the Jays, as have the backlog of talent at AAA that means players even semi-stuggling in Toronto have competition in Syracuse.
Lefty - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#118082) #
The following paragraph from Mark Zwolinski's article in today Star.

Gibbons and Bush had words on the mound Saturday and later in the dugout. Gibbons later said that his hold on the clubhouse would deteriorate if he continued to trot out the struggling rookie pitcher.

So maybe there is more to this story than what has been indicated through the party line. What does this mean?
Mick Doherty - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#118084) #
Well, unless Zwolinski is willing to publish a quote for attribution, I chalk that up to a journalist wanting to make a story where there isn't one.
Rich - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#118094) #
I agree completely Mick.

I think a stint in Syracuse is an excellent idea. Let's remember that Bush hasn't been a pro for that long, and in truth he hasn't faced much adversity. It seems to me that he needs to regain some confidence in his stuff; he also needs to locate his curve better as a lot of hitters are learning to lay off it when it breaks out of the zone.

I like Bush a lot and think he has a bright future as a middle-of-the-rotation starter, but a shakeup is the right move here. He's young, he's frustrated, and things simply aren't going right for the club when he's out there. A chance to right himself in Syracuse while giving Gaudin a chance is a smart decision. Bush will be back, and he'll be fine. I don't see much to criticize here.
NYJaysFan36 - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#118095) #
I'm not sure if I'm in favor of Bush going down. But I am excited to see what Gaudin can do back in the bigs after a few months (including a spring training) in a new system.
Someone has to go down, so I guess I'm 'indirectly' in favor of sending down Bush.

In 10 starts at Syracuse, Gaudin posted a 2.48 ERA with a 47-14 K-BB ratio. His WHIP is 1.04.

AAA is the appropriate place for Bush to work on his stuff. The Jays are in a 3-way tie with Boston and New York right now. Only 3 behind a falling Oriole team. Keith's comment from the other thread posted by Magpie sums up some of my feelings on the subject. You don't want someone who can't handle a setback.
Flex - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#118102) #
I'm glad Magpie pointed out the discrepancy between Gibbons's quote about not giving up on guys and the team's actions the very next day. That's not to say I disagree with the move to send Bush down — I think it's a completely defensible decision — but I wish Gibbons had thought through that statement before he made it, given what was likely to happen.

Magpie is also right that Bush has been saddled with some bad luck and unfortunate circumstances this year. But sometimes a guy makes his luck, and Bush hasn't made any of the good kind. I think he was pitching with an attitude problem, a defensive, waiting-for-disaster-to-hit mindset. Now that the worst that could happen — he gets sent down — has just happened, maybe he can get his head back to where it belongs.

And the fact is, the Jays do need to find out what Gaudin can do as a starter in the majors before they lose him. There was no other pitcher they could send down to make room, so why not the guy who's 0-5 and yet to have a full year in the bigs?

You can wish for better things to have happened to Bush this year, but I don't see how you can criticize the move from an organizational viewpoint.
Jim - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#118103) #
Wow, JP and I are on the same page on something for the first time in a while. I was ready for this move about 10 days ago, we debated it in one of the threads.

Bush might have nothing left to prove in AAA, but when you are 3.5 games back at Memorial Day, it's still time for the 25 best players you've got. If Gaudin gives them a better chance to win then Bush does, he's got to be here - it doesn't matter if that stunts Bush's development or not.
Pistol - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#118104) #
"I'm glad Magpie pointed out the discrepancy between Gibbons's quote about not giving up on guys and the team's actions the very next day.... but I wish Gibbons had thought through that statement before he made it, given what was likely to happen."

I assume the discrpancy was because the GM was the one behind the move and not the manager.
NDG - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#118110) #
I don't have any problem with the move. As I said during the game chat, while Bush was unlucky with the Hinske error, he got hit hard afterwards and was pretty lucky he didn't give up more runs and hits.

Gibby's analysis that Bush is pitching a bit in reverse, that he catches too much of the plate when behind, makes sense to me too. I thought it was weird that Bush doesn't really give up that many hits, yet those he gives up, seem to be hit quite hard.
uglyone - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#118111) #
This has to be a disciplinary show him who's boss move.

The Jays are taking advantage of the luxury of Gaudin's great performance to punish Bush.

I think that endnote in that Star article says it all. And I think if we review the endgame quotes from the past few Bush starts, we can clearly see that there is some simmering anger between the kid and the manager - the manager obviously having little patience with him, and the kid obviously upset that he's not getting the innings he needs, despite not pitching horribly.

There's no way this is based strictly on performance.

I mean, let's take a look around the rotations from our rivals within the best division in baseball....

Baltimore - Bedard, Chen
New York - Johnson, Mussina
Boston - Clement, Arroyo

Each team has two guys pitching clearly better than Bush.

Baltimore - Ponson, Cabrera
New York - Brown, Wright
Boston - Wells, Miller, Schilling

Each team has at least two guys pitching clearly WORSE than Bush.

And then we compare Bush, who's been our 4th best starter, to the other 3rd best starters in teh AL East so far this year....

D.Bush: 5.1ip/gs, 4.3k/9, 2.6k/bb, 1.29whip, 4.89era, .825oops
C.Pavano: 5.2ip/gs, 5.4k/9, 3.3k/bb, 1.48whip, 4.18era, .840oops
T.Wakefield: 6.1ip/gs, 5.6k/9, 1.3k/bb, 1.52whip, 4.48era, .774oops
R.Lopez: 6.1ip/gs, 5.5k/9, 1.7k/bb, 1.39whip, 4.41era, .723oops

Bush has hardly pitched any worse than these guys.

And that's before even considering the strength of opponent Bush has faced this year.
Magpie - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#118112) #
I assume the discrepancy was because the GM was the one behind the move and not the manager.

I don't think that's necessarily the case - Gibbons said on Sunday that they had been talking about it for a while.

In this sense, it reminds me of the sudden Batista-to-the-pen move in spring training. It wasn't really that sudden, it just seemed that way. In that case, and again here, management had been discussing what they would do, but they were saying nothing - nothing whatsoever - for public consumption until they actually made their decision. They keep the debate out of the press, and amongst themselves, and present a unified company line in the meantime. I think that's probably a wise way to operate, although it certainly creates the impression sometimes that decisions get made suddenly and capriciously.

NDG - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#118113) #
The numbers posted by uglyone show precisely what I was talking about. Bush's OOPs is quite high compared to Pavano, Wakefield and Lopez, despite the fact he's given up significantly fewer baserunners.
Coach - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#118119) #
I’m disappointed for Dave and would have preferred to see him work things out on the west coast -- he has been sensational in Oakland. If it wasn’t a unanimous decision by the brain trust, Gibby was presumably in the same camp as me. His quick hook (from Bush’s perspective) and two animated public conversations are no doubt an unfortunate coincidence with the move's timing; emotion doesn’t influence this organization.

J.P. wisely ignores the "advice" he gets from antagonistic media types and excitable fans, trusting his inner circle. They won’t get distracted by a winning streak (see May, 2003) or abandon plan when an incredible combination of bad luck derails a promising season, like the one we all suffered through last year. While I may disagree with this particular roster shuffle, I’m sure there are, as always, valid reasons.

Another club could already be interested in Gaudin, making his promotion a showcase. If he mows down Seattle for seven innings, maybe a tentative deal is sealed. Of course, it may simply be a deserved audition for Chad. If he looks ready, they can actively shop Lilly for a bat. It’s great to have so many chips increasing in value; one way or another, we're going to see some significant trades.

Dave Bush will be back soon enough. He has more than enough talent and character to turn this temporary setback into a long-term positive for himself and the team.
King Ryan - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#118121) #
Well the difference between Bush and Brown, Jeret Wright etc. etc. is that those guys can't be sent down to AAA now, can they? I'm sure if the Yankees could option Kevin Brown to AAA to work out some kinks, they just might do that. With Bush it's still an option. With Lilly and all the guys pitching worse than Bush that you talked about, it isn't.
Magpie - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#118122) #
I don't see how you can criticize the move from an organizational viewpoint.

I think that depends on the reasoning behind it. If it's a reaction to his chat with Gibbons on the mound, if it's a reaction to his W-L record - I think it's flat out dumb.

But if the reasoning is that this is the best way to address his problems as a pitcher - and this is the reasoning that the team is putting forward - I think that makes a good bit of sense. I don't really expect Gaudin to be better than Bush has been, but there's an excellent chance that Bush will come back and be better than he has been to date.

There's no way this is based strictly on performance.

Yes and no, I think. Not the results so much as the method. I think Gibbons is much more disturbed by the way Bush has been pitching rather than the actual results of that performance.

Gibbons later said that his hold on the clubhouse would deteriorate if he continued to trot out the struggling rookie pitcher.

Very hard to know what that means without an actual quote. A manager always loses the clubhouse when he trots out pitchers who don't give the team a chance to win. In that sense, Ted Lilly has been a much bigger problem than Dave Bush. But Gibbons rambles a bit anyway - it's proving to be one of his media-handling mechanisms - and he was also under a fair bit of media pressure Sunday morning, dealing with the obvious contrast between what he said Saturday night and what the organization did Sunday morning. It wasn't the third degree, but there were a lot of questions being asked, and he was the guy on the spot.

uglyone - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#118132) #
NDG - According to those numbers I posted, Bush's OOPS is slightly lower than Pavano's, and slightly higher than Wakefield's. Lopez' is significantly lower, though.
BCMike - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 02:50 PM EDT (#118136) #

Bush has hardly pitched any worse than these guys.

How other pitchers around the league are pitching isn't really relevant.

The bottom line is that Bush has not pitched as well as he can/should and he hasn't shown many signs that he is getting better.

Bush needs to work out his problems(mainly getting that K rate up a bit). The Jays have the opportunity to allow him to do this in low pressure situations at AAA rather than in the big league rotation or bullpen. With Gaudin pitching well I think this is a win-win situation for the Jays. Bush may not like it, but I expect to see him back up within a few weeks.

MatO - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#118137) #
I'm as big a fan of Bush as anyone but he needs to get his K rate up and gopherball rate down. Hopefully Syracuse is the place to do it though I'm not convinced it is.
R Billie - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#118166) #
A lot of people are pointing out Bush's results and saying that they aren't much worse than Towers which is valid (except his K-rate is significantly lower which is worrisome). Other people are pointing at the fact that he has faced Boston, NY, and Baltimore in half his starts while guys like Towers haven't. Which is also very valid.

But that doesn't change the fact that Bush's results may actually be flattering to how he has pitched at times, especially of late.

I can't remember a single game where his curveball has been a reliable weapon for him. If he even has a 30% hit rate with it (i.e. being able to throw it where he wants a third of the time) then I'd be surprised. So he's basically been a fastball/changeup pitcher with a mediocore slider which he's mixed in for show. He can't pitch at this level reliably unless he gets that curveball to work.

His last start, his fastball and changeup location were also inconsistent. Castro first pull a fastball deep and just foul and then a changeup which was set up for the outside corner ran to the inside half of the plate and was hit over the fence in left. And then a curveball which was left just a little bit high to Stewart was hit on the button near the end of the bat and just made it out. Combine that with the error that led to two runs and once again non-existent run support.

David hasn't gotten much help but the point is he's not pitching well himself either. For whatever reason. Maybe the right answer is to let him go deeper into games. But can Gibbons afford to do that when he's trying to stay within 4 games of Baltimore who keeps winning and stay even with the Yankees and the Red Sox who could each bust out at any time?

I know the youth is the lifeblood of the organization but sooner or later the team has to be competitive. There will always be young players on this roster. But when you're in a race and you can't afford to let the youth work itself out of trouble for fear of letting a game balloon out of reach, I think a manager should have that option. The majors ideally aren't a developmental league.

Right now Bush has to get his curveball over consistently and be just a bit better with his fastball and changeup. If he wants to throw the slider occasionally for show he can but it's not a great pitch for him. He will be back up and duplicating last year's performance as soon as he has the first three pitches working.

My concern with him continually missing with those pitches despite having a history of great mechanics and command is that he might be battling some soreness or stiffness. I hope that's not the case.

I'm not sure how Chad will do or whether he's ready. His stuff is decent but not overpowering and he probably has to be as fine as Bush to get by. Hopefully he does well.
NDG - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#118168) #
I understand uglyone, but my point is that his OOPs is as high or higher than those other pitchers despite the fact that he gives up less baserunners. Which must mean that his oslg% must be MUCH higher than the other three guys listed. That's what I mean by being hit hard when hit. I guess if I had said that in the first place I would have been easier to understand.
Magpie - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#118170) #
R.Billie - I'm pretty sure Bush doesn't throw a true changeup. That thing that Castro hit - 81 mph - I think that was supposed to be a slider. Supposed to be! But it didn't break, it just kind of drifted into the heart of the hitting zone.

The broadcast crews confuse the issue becaus they sometimes call anything that's not a fastball a changeup. I've seen them call that curveball of his a changeup.

I actually kept track of what pitches he was throwing in my very first Game Report back in April. That night it was about 50 fastballs, 19 sliders, and 11 curves. The curve was working OK that night - more strikes than balls, and he got three outs with it. The slider hurt him in the first few innings, but he stuck with it and eventually got some use out of it, mostly to LH hitters. And he was a little too predictable with the fastball early on, throwing too many of them...

I'll have to do something like that again when he comes back.

uglyone - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#118171) #
NDG - I see.

BC Mike - you're right, how other pitchers have pitched doesn't matter to how he pitches....but they do matter to a discussion of why bush was sent down - whether it was performance or something else. I mean....if Bush was doing this on the yanks, sox, or Orioles right now, do you think they'd be sending him down?

R.Billie - Even your descriptions suggest his numbers are unflattering, not flattering. That Stewart HR, for example - that was an excellent pitch. I still don't know how it went out. And there's always his strength of opponents to consider.

R Billie - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#118177) #
Bush is a four pitch pitcher. Fastball, curve, slider, changeup. It's because he had four pitches and a changeup in particular that the Jays decided they could move him to the rotation out of college.

The thing that Castro hit was moving left-to-right so if it was a slider it was the weirdest slider ever! :)
Waveburner - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#118182) #
Does Bush really throw a change? All the scouting reports say two-seam, four-seam, curve, slider. No mention of a change-up. I know a lot of people think he should scrap the slider for a change to mix speeds better, but has he actually been working on a change? Has he thrown it in game situations? If anyone knows for sure I'd love to know.

Count me in the camp that doesn't agree with this move. Not only sending Bush down, but Gaudin? He's a 2 pitch guy with bullpen written all over him. Aside from Randy Johnson or knuckleballers, no pitcher can be successful starting with 2 pitches. I thought the whole point of starting Gaudin at AAA was so he could refine his change-up which was pretty poor. I hope I'm wrong and Gaudin does well, but I wouldn't bet on it. Personally I woulda brought up Lundberg, Arnold or Whiteside to the pen and let Downs take a couple starts if I really felt Bush needed AAA time. Hasn't Arnold hit the end of the prospect rope? Time to find out what we have, if anything, from the Lopez deal. Not one of JP's good moves.
Lefty - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#118187) #
Maybe he does have a working change now. Gaudin has been consistantly good all season.

Whats done is done now. Bush is in AAA. I wish him all the best and hope for a speedy return. That'll be in his hands if the team is being square with the player and the fans.

Maybe Gaudin will get the run support Bush never enjoyed for whatever reason. He's scheduled to go against Ryan Franklin tomorrow night it looks like. I like that match-up. Weak opposition starter, underachieving team in a pitchers park. Then he should have a game in similar conditions down in Oakland. Perfect.
BallGuy - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 09:28 PM EDT (#118195) #
"He has got to find his breaking ball. He has got to start locating. That's his game if he's going to be successful here."
That's a quote from John Gibbons from Mike Gantner's article in the Sun today.
Watching a replay of the pitching change I don't see how it could be described as heated . They spoke to each other. There is no way Bush is "being punished" by being sent down to AAA; these guy's are professionals, they can disagree with one another and not feel the need to show someone who's boss. Bush needs to work on some things: HE HAS NOT WON IN 10 STARTS. I have no doubt he will return a better pitcher.
One thing no one has mentioned: Bush isn't complaining about being sent down. If he was supposedly that pissed off about being taken out of the game on Saturday, wouldn't he be about 100 x more upset about being sent down?
Everybody eat a Kit Kat.
R Billie - Monday, May 30 2005 @ 09:38 PM EDT (#118196) #
Scouting reports from TSN and Waymore Sports (same report it seems) and Baseball America and ESPN report Bush having a changeup. That's a lot of major media sites agreeing.

Excerpt from Baseball America from 2004 International League Top 20 where Bush ranked 20th:

A tough competitor who pounds the strike zone, Bush was just so-so in his first Triple-A season. Yet he was effective in the majors and carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Oakland in his third big league start.

Bush throws an 88-91 mph fastball, a solid curveball, a slider and a changeup. He repeats his delivery well and throws strikes—perhaps too many strikes.

"There were times when his pitch selection wasn't good," an AL scout said. "He needs to mix it up more and trust his stuff better to limit his hit totals. His secondary stuff is only slightly above-average for me."

He's always had the changeup though he didn't use it enough against lefties last year. His real problem this year is the inability to get the curve over consistently which is a real puzzle for a guy who was so consistent the last two and a half years.

The Roster Move: Bush down, Gaudin up | 38 comments | Create New Account
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