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The second player drafted under the J.P. Ricciardi regime was the first to reach The Show. With all due respect to other prospects who have been drafted and moved up and moved on, Dave Bush is the first of “Ricciardi’s own” that this Jays fan is pained to see gone. In a move that signals the organisational shift from rebuilding mode to the future is now, Dave Bush was dealt along with Gabe Gross and Zach Jackson to the Brewers for Lyle Overbay on December 8.

Bush was selected 55th overall in the 2002 draft, Toronto’s second-rounder. The former Wake Forest closer made his pro debut at short-season Auburn, and encountering no difficulty there while collecting 10 saves, he was promoted to High-A Dunedin, where he again had no problem with the opposition in a handful of innings. In 2003 the Jays challenged him with transitioning to the starting rotation. Bush didn’t miss a beat, going 7-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 14 starts at Dunedin, striking out 75 in 77 innings and walking a measly 9. Not content with that impressive performance, he spent the second half of the season posting a virtually identical line for Double-A New Haven, all the while keeping in lockstep with Dustin McGowan.

Starting 2004 at Triple-A Syracuse, Bush saw his ERA go over 4 for the first time in his pro career, but he maintained his strong strikeout and walk rates. With Pat Hentgen's Toronto swan song turning out to be a dirge, Dave was promoted to the majors one out shy of 100 AAA innings and made his debut July 2, 2004. Facing the Expos in steamy San Juan, Bush surrendered just 1 run on 4 hits and a walk through 6-2/3, but was saddled with the loss as Livan Hernandez tossed a shut out. Dave was very solid in holding a place in the Blue Jay rotation through the end of the year, putting an exclamation mark on his season by shutting out the Yankees on two hits October 1st, punching out 11.

The early part of the 2005 season saw the end of the fairy tale, as a bipolar Bush struggled through April. The bad outings gradually began to outnumber the good ones, and manager John Gibbons seemed to develop a quick hook for his young righty. On May 28 Bush was pulled from his start against the Twins in the 5th inning, having given up back-to-back solo homers. Much has been made of his evident displeasure at being lifted. The next day, he was optioned down to Syracuse along with his unflattering 0-5 record and 4.89 ERA. The Box was unimpressed.

Back in AAA, Dave's walk rate went back to his normal excellent levels but the disturbing erosion of his strikeout rate continued and he was more prone to the long ball than he'd ever been in the minors. 55 unremarkable innings later, Bush was back in the majors. He finished out the year quite well, going 5-6 with a 4.32 ERA over 83 innings following his recall with a 1.23 WHIP.

The signings of B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett following the season gave the Jays seven capable starters, so someone had to go. Objectively, I can't make a strong argument that Bush is likely to be significantly better than any of the other six candidates in 2006, and possible contributions beyond that are devalued by the push to win now and by the number of talented young arms percolating through the farm system. Subjectively, I'd grown attached to Bush from following his ascent through the minors and enjoying his bulldog approach. My most vivid memory of him is of his April 23, 2005 start in which he limited the then high-flying Orioles to just 1 run on 5 hits through 8 innings. As was his luck in the 2005 season, he was assigned the loss as the Blue Jay bats went missing.

Here is Dave Bush's statistical record as a member of the Toronto Blue Jay organisation:

Year  Age Lev  W   L   ERA     IP    H/9  HR/9  BB/9    K/9  WHIP
2002  22  A-   1   1  2.82   22.3   5.24  0.40  2.82  15.72  0.90
          A+   0   1  2.03   13.3   6.75  0.68  1.35   6.08  0.90
2003  23  A+   7   3  2.81   77.0   7.48  0.70  1.05   8.77  0.95
          AA   7   3  2.78   81.0   8.11  0.44  2.11   8.11  1.14
2004  24  AAA  6   6  4.06   99.7   9.75  0.63  1.81   7.95  1.28
          MLB  5   4  3.69   97.7   8.75  1.01  2.30   5.90  1.23
2005  25  AAA  2   2  4.42   55.0  10.64  0.98  1.47   6.55  1.35
          MLB  5  11  4.49  136.3   9.37  1.32  1.91   4.95  1.25
On behalf of Batter's Box, I wish him every success as a member of the Milwaukee Brewer rotation. Please share your memories of Dave Bush in this thread.

Photo courtesy of

Gone But Not Forgotten: David Bush | 39 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
VBF - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 12:06 PM EST (#136601) #
"Bushy" as he was known in the hardcore fans circle was an absolutely awesome person to meet. Just an all round fun loving guy.

Mike Green - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 12:19 PM EST (#136603) #
Watching Dave Bush progress through the minor leagues and arrive in the Show was one of the great joys of the last few years. His intelligence and intensity are the qualities that I most admire in a pitcher.

I have confidence that he will be a better pitcher in the next few years than he has been in his major league career to date. The only consolation for us in his leaving is that he is pitching in the other league, and almost always we can root for him. I will be.
SharpeShooter - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 12:23 PM EST (#136605) #
That is a great writeup on Bush, nice job. I really like David Bush. I dont think he ever would have become a true all-star, but I thought of him as a Matt Morris type. Meaning a steady, reliable pitcher - 30 GS, 12-15 wins, 4.00ish ERA, etc. When Bush gets into a groove he is just great to watch. Which mixes with my favorite Bush moment, that incredible 2-hit shutout against the Yankees.

I wish him luck in Milwaukee, although I dont think he'll need it.
Mylegacy - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 12:46 PM EST (#136611) #
I like him. Given the opportunity he took it and made the start of a decent career.

But, if Rosario and McGowan hadn't exploded he'd still be at AAA, be in the bullpen, or have been included as a throw in on a trade. With McGowan back and Purcey and Romero nearing their potential he is the logical one to trade.

I wish him luck, but with or without my wish I'm SURE he will have a successful and rewarding career. He's a class act.
Rob - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 12:49 PM EST (#136613) #
Bush was definitely one of my favourite Blue Jays -- possibly one of my favourite players ever. That start against the Orioles in April was both magnificent and indicative of his entire season -- after a Brian Roberts leadoff solo HR, he hardly gave up anything else. Naturally, he got the loss despite pitching very well.

The Milwaukee Brewers may not have a new fan, but they do have someone who will be following NL Central games like never before.

Jordan - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 01:09 PM EST (#136620) #
I wouldn't characterize Bush as a throw-in to the Overbay trade -- Gross was the one added at the last minute, and most reports of negotiations leading up to the deal had Hillenbrand going to the Brewers rather than Jackson. I think Bush was the centerpiece of the deal, and I think Milwaukee was wise to make him that.

He will be a fine pitcher -- a league-average starter at worst, or an excellent short reliever if that's how they want to proceed. I'm sorry he won't be a Jay -- I disagreed with his demotion to Syracuse at the time and I still disagree with it -- but that water is under the bridge, and the Jays are a better team after the trade than before it. Best of luck to Dave in the National League.
Pistol - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 01:16 PM EST (#136621) #
Coach had a terrific interview with Bush following his callup in 2004:

Good guy. Good player. Good luck.
Leigh - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 01:26 PM EST (#136622) #
Dave Bush will be missed. He has the control to be a fine pitcher and I was sorry to see him squeezed out of the numbers game at starting pitcher.
Exit - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 01:39 PM EST (#136626) #
Its no question that Bush will be missed, you'd be hard pressed to find a Jays fan that didn't like Bush. However, the Jays were able to bring in a much needed bat while dealing from their strength. unfortunatly there was really no room for Bush on the '06 roster, and that is not a bad thing. If Bush was the center peice of the deal, which I suspect he probably was, then hats off to Milwaukee, I think they got a decent pitcher. I do think that Overbay will help the Jays much more than Bush would both this coming season and in the future. As far as Gross and Jackson goes, I consider them, like Bush, expendable.
mark. - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 02:18 PM EST (#136636) #
In an chate with BA's John Manuel, he discussed the possibility of Bush setting up Turnbow as a relied pitcher. Considering he was a very successful closer in college, I imagine it would be a smooth transition.
mark. - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 02:20 PM EST (#136637) #
relied = relief
Geoff - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 02:51 PM EST (#136641) #
I don't believe I have any understanding of what talent evaluation experts or pundits use to value players, but I understand that a player should carry some present value and some future value that will fall in line with an organization's plan or not.

So how greatly valued is Overbay? He must be a pretty good lock to be an important producer to give up three high draft selections of recent years.

It seems Overbay is overvalued because he fits so well in what the Blue Jays wanted. They are richest in pitching prospects, and presumably dealt from the bottom of the deck in terms of eye-popping talent. But why include Gross? Two solid arms should have been enough. The Jays have enjoyed a glut of middle infielders in years past and they were dealt away with little return. Is the same to happen with pitching?

I know that watching baseball provides endless suprises of disappointments as well as guys rising from obscurity to be stars.

Who saw Gustavo Chacin coming on like he did? Anyone expect Pat Hentgen to rack up the second most wins in the AL from '93 to '97? And where is Joey Hamilton now? Sirotka? Mike Young? Felipe Lopez? Eric Crozier? Phelps?

I don't know how evaluators really do their job and sleep at night. To consider Gross and Jackson and Bush expendable seems like a decision that can be taken with a bat of the eye, but I know I'd never sleep if I was the one to make it. Who knows who will become a star someday soon? or disappear from the game?

I enjoyed this article for its focus on the player rather than just transaction rumors and speculation. Good move, bad move; it's all a mess to me. I'm glad to be surprised or disappointed with the success and misfortune of players but these trades and analysis of them make me wheezy. Who can wrap their head around the precise value of a player?
Jonny German - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 04:08 PM EST (#136650) #
I enjoyed this article for its focus on the player rather than just transaction rumors and speculation.

Thank you. In future, please try to also keep the threads in Gone But Not Forgotten articles on the topic of the player who has left. There will always be a thread for the transaction itself.

ayjackson - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 04:53 PM EST (#136652) #
I was a big fan of Bush, but knew he would probably be leaving this offseason. While I am a fan of JP and Gibby, I thought they gave Bush a raw deal with his June demotion. At the time of his demotion, he was winless of course, but with a WHIP of 1.28. Fantastic for a young prospect like David. (AJ Burnett's WHIP was 1.25 last year I believe). Further it was the second best WHIP on of the starters (Doc of course).

Also at the time of his demotion, I recall that Chacin's run support was around 4.5 per game better than David's. I can't help but think if the offence had done their part for Bush, his season and career for the Blue Jays would have played out somewhat differently.

Good luck David.
Callum - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 04:59 PM EST (#136654) #
what ever happened to Corey Thurman?
Kieran - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 05:39 PM EST (#136657) #
Loved his high socks!
Glevin - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 06:33 PM EST (#136660) #
I like Bush and think he will be a pretty good pitcher. Just another not to count me as a fan of Ricciardi's. I would not be surprised if Bush has a better ERA than anyone on the Jays except Halladay. I don't think Burnett will be that much better even making 10 million dollars more a year. (Which reflects as much on what I think of Burnett as a pitcher as it does on Bush). Bush pitched a lot against tough teams last year. The N.L. Central will be a lot easier.
Twilight - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 08:05 PM EST (#136668) #
But why include Gross? Two solid arms should have been enough. Unfortunately, it wasn't. The Brewers had a couple offers on the table for Overbay, and demanded that the Jays include Gross to complete the trade. The Red Sox were interested in Overbay as well and were dangling Clement. I agree it was a little much, but JP's gotta do what he's gotta do to get what the club needs. It was a great trade IMO, but I am also sad to see Bush go. I saw him pitch a 4 hit, 1 run game into the 8th against the Devil Rays at the RC last season, and the Jays lost 1-0. Again. After giving up a run early in the game on a couple singles, Bush was unstoppable. Whether it's starting or relief he is going to have a relatively successful career.
#2JBrumfield - Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 11:08 PM EST (#136687) #
I'm sad to see Bush go. I remember seeing his first ML win at the Dome against Tampa on a Sunday afternoon in July, a game that Kerry Ligtenberg actually saved (the start of the Bush relieved by Kerry jokes). I also remember his second "W" against Tampa at the Dome that season in mid-September, the game in which the missus and I won the "Fan Of the Game", which led to us getting tickets for Opening Day this year and seeing Bush's 2005 debut.

Unfortunately, I wouldn't get to see one of my favourite pitchers win a game in person again. Here were his starts that I attended.

* The Home Opener, a loss. He didn't pitch great but he wasn't horrible either.

* The aforementioned game against the O's (1 solo HR in 8IP), a loss. That game should've been at least a no-decision but it wasn't thanks to a horse@#$@ call on Rios who was called out at the plate trying to score the tying run in the late innings).

* A game against the eventual World Series Champion White Sox - a no-decision. He left with a 3-2 lead after a decent 5 innings but the Sox rallied in the late going for the win.

* The classic 18 inning game against the Angels - a no decision but an eventual win (how 'bout that?), when he went 8.1 IP but John Lackey was every bit as good.

* The aforementioned game against Tampa vs. Scott Kazmir, 7 strong innings but lost 1-0.

* And, his only terrible start I saw him have, only making it through 3 innings vs. Seattle in the Felix Hernandez game.

I guess I had bad karma when it came to seeing Bush this year but next to Halladay, I was always checking the probable pitcher listings to see when his turn in the rotation would come.

I loved watching him pitch. I loved seeing how he would drop those big benders at 64-66 MPH and then come back with the heater at 90-92 MPH.

I hope he does well in Milwaukee and with any luck, I'll see him pitch at Miller Park this season in my annual trip to see my brother in Madison.

He'll also get to wear the Brewers retro uniform and ballcap every Sunday home game. I'm glad the Brewers have brought those back. That ballglove logo is one of the best of all time.
Newton - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 10:48 AM EST (#136719) #
Am I the only guy who thought twice to himself about whether it would have been better to trade McGowan instead of Bush?

Particularly when Bush was packaged with another decent pitching prospect.

Mike Green - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 11:03 AM EST (#136720) #
Newton, as Jonny said earlier in the thread, we try to keep "Gone But Not Forgotten" threads focused on the departing player, rather than on the transaction. The transaction can be discussed in the trade thread.
Shortstop - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 11:08 AM EST (#136721) #
I liked Bush alot. I liked it when he faced Wang from the Yankees and how that read in the probable pitchers portion of the paper. His start against the Yanks at the end of the 04 season, a game which i was at, was memorable. He looked great. I will also remember that guy charging the mound when he was at Syracuse, and Bush not running away.

He will be a good pitcher for the Brewers and this will be the first time since Tony Fernandez spent a few months there that i will follow a Brewers box score, and games on extra innings.
Newton - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 01:25 PM EST (#136736) #
Sorry Mike, I'm a little Green.
R Billie - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 02:21 PM EST (#136748) #
I think the difference between Bush '05 and Bush '04 was the location of his offspeed stuff. That cost him some big innings and a drop in strikeout rate. If he gets back to his '04 level of control, there is no reason to think he can't be a very good starter.

If Mike Maddux can do half of what he did for Doug Davis for David Bush, Milwaukee got themselves a #2-#3 quality starter who makes no money. It will be interesting to see what Dave can do in an easier context or even as a reliever.
Ron - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 04:35 PM EST (#136761) #
I still remember his first start in San Juan. I had never seen him pitch before that game. It was a impressive showing and IIRC it was Bush vs. Canadian Shawn Hill.

I wasn't impressed when he showed up the skipper though.

I wish Dave the best of luck with the Brewers.

Willy - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 05:38 PM EST (#136770) #
I wasn't impressed when he showed up the skipper though.

I didn't see that game. What exactly did Bush do to 'show up' the manager? Can someone write a brief replay of the 'incident'?
Rob - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 06:27 PM EST (#136771) #
Bush was removed from a game before he thought he should have been. There was a little argument between him and Gibby before he turned over the ball, and Bush was visibly upset walking towards the dugout.

The next day, Gibbons said it was all in the past, worse things happen in baseball, etc. However, shortly thereafter, Bush was demoted. So while I don't think there should have been a wedge between the manager and Bush, there likely was.

But as Jordan said at the time of the demotion, it's good that Bush wanted to stay in and pitch -- it shows he's competitive and I want that in a pitcher.
Flex - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 07:59 PM EST (#136778) #
I didn't hear what was said between Bush and Gibbons, obviously. But it sure seemed like Bush was saying more than "Leave me in, Skip. I can win this game!" It looked like he was plenty pissed that he was being yanked again and wanted to communicate something along the lines of "How the heck am I supposed to improve as a pitcher if you keep pulling me this early!"

The mound, in the middle of thousands of spectators and hundreds of thousands of viewers, is not the place to have that discussion. As I think Gibbons expressed to Bush shortly thereafter, in the dugout.

Show up the manager, pay the price.
Magpie - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 09:33 PM EST (#136782) #
What exactly did Bush do to 'show up' the manager?

Nothing, actually. There is very little that a starting pitcher who is trailing by three runs can do to show up the manager. the crowd isn't going to be on the pitcher's side.

When Gibbons came to get him, Bush said that he wanted to stay in the game. He was of course already out of the game from the moment Gibbons stepped onto the field, because it was the second visit of the inning. Bush wasn't pleading his case, he was expressing his disappointment. As you recall, the bases were empty, two were out, Morneau was hitting. Bush had retired Morneau both times in the game, and all three times when they had faced each other a week earlier.

Whereas Gibbons was thinking that he had a starter working on three days rest, and about to be replaced by Scott Downs either this batter or the next. If Downs has to come in, it's better for him to face a LH batter with the bases empty than a RH batter with a runner aboard.

I don't think Bush was disciplined for "showing up his manager," although I think it's possible that management was concerned by just how frustrated Bush was becoming at the way his season was going. Its very possible that they thought his frustration was affecting his performance.

You may also remember that Gibbons went out of his way at the end of the year to praise Bush on a personal level, for his qualities as a competitor and as a team guy.

Willy - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 10:21 PM EST (#136785) #
O.K., thanks gentlemen. At least I think I understand what happened now. Sounds a bit like another manufactured-by-the-media 'incident'. Lots of them around these days.
rtcaino - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 10:27 PM EST (#136786) #
The fact remains that Bush mouthed off. It wasn't like he simply stated his case and walked off. He was really giving it to him. Obviously no one knows what was sad, but the body language was equivalent to "O ya? Well f.." perhaps with a bit of "take this ball and..." thrown in for good measure.

It wasn’t very gentlemanly.
Matthew E - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 11:02 PM EST (#136789) #
I am much of Willy's opinion. I don't think that that incident had anything to do with anything. But the fans and media can't let go of it. Sort of like Orlando Hudson's most famous quote.
Ron - Friday, December 16 2005 @ 11:32 PM EST (#136791) #
I still remember the incident and the media didn't play it up one bit.

Gibby came to the mound and Bush was pissed. I don't know his exact words but he wasn't happy. He walked off the mound and sat down on the bench. Gibby went over to him to say a few more words and Bush just blankly stared ahead.

The only people that will ever know if this incident was a factor in him being dealt away is Gibby and JP.
Magpie - Saturday, December 17 2005 @ 09:56 AM EST (#136804) #
The only people that will ever know if this incident was a factor in him being dealt away is Gibby and JP.

True, but if it was a factor those guys are way more stupid than I think they are. The thing that creates doubt is that team management has demonstrated that they are very, very capable of saying one thing ("Batista is in the 2005 rotation") while they're doing another ("Batista is the closer.")

Anyway, off the top of my head, I seem to recall four incidents from 2005 when a player acted... inappropriately? Anyone got more? They would be:

1) Bush declaring on the mound that he didn't want to be taken out (he wasn't at all animated about it, by the way - for all we knew while it was happening he could have been talking about his curveball);

2) Wells getting lazy on Tejada's hit in front of him, which Miguel promptly hustled into a double. There were extenuating circumstances in Vernon's life at the time.

3) Rios basically walking down the line after hitting a flyball to RF, which got him instantly lifted from the game.

4) Hinske delivering a routine groundball in a clutch situation; Dude screamed in frustration and didn't run hard, which came to back to bite him immediately when the ball got booted.

It seems to me that the Bush case was very much like Hinske's - a player made a mistake, mostly out of frustration. You point it out, you tell him never to do it again. Case closed.

And I suppose the reason I'm really reluctant to believe that that's why Bush was sent to Syracuse is because the thought that Gibbons and Ricciardi could be that dumb frightens me...

Magpie - Saturday, December 17 2005 @ 10:00 AM EST (#136805) #
He was really giving it to him.

I must admit that if you were watching on TV, you probably had a much better perspective than those of us who were at the game. In the press box, no one noticed anything unusual, no one thought anything had happened. Someone eventually noticed on the monitor that "Gibbons is really giving it to Bush. I wonder why."

VBF - Saturday, December 17 2005 @ 11:16 AM EST (#136807) #
One more. There was a 'scrum' (maybe that word's too strong) or incident that took place in Spring Training after a game. The media strongly hinted it was Billy Koch involved and we all know the Gibbons interview when he acted almost as if Koch wasn't even in existence. A short time later, Billy was cut off the spring training roster.


Your starting pitcher mouths off to you. Your 1st basemen doesn't run out groundballs, and your all-star centerfielder casually shags down base hits.

It better be Gibbons.

Thomas - Sunday, December 18 2005 @ 05:01 PM EST (#136859) #
Unless I'm missing it, I can't believe no one has mentioned Bush's 3rd start in the major leagues, in Oakland, where he pitched 8 innings of 1-hit ball with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. It was an afternoon game and I remember racing home to watch it from about the 5th inning onwards. Bush was throwing a no-hitter until Damian Miller singled with one out in the bottom of the 8th to break it up. Bush retired the next two batters and was then pulled from the game. The Jays lost the match 1-0 in the 14th inning, but it was still an incredibly impressive performance by Bush (a no hitter would have been beyond amazing) and is likely to be the most memorable moment of his career in Toronto for me.

I spoke to him a few times at the ballpark briefly and, as Coach's interview makes clear, he's an even better individual than he is a ballplayer. He's a class act and I'm sorry to see him go.
robertdudek - Monday, December 19 2005 @ 08:46 AM EST (#136866) #
Coach visited my humble abode and we watched that game.

The Oakland hurler who matched Bush's effort was an impressive youngster named Rich Harden.
MulRedux - Tuesday, December 20 2005 @ 05:28 AM EST (#136947) #
(he wasn't at all animated about it, by the way - for all we knew while it was happening he could have been talking about his curveball)

I just watched it again to confirm my memory of that game. Bush was not necessarily animated, but he was clearly upset and got right in John Gibbons face. If he was talking about his curveball, he was doing so in what I would call an overly aggressive manner. It was what it was; an unprofessional moment from an otherwise professional young man who, at the end of the day, probably just wanted to win.

Best of luck to him with the Brewers. It seems to me all signs point to him thriving there.
Gone But Not Forgotten: David Bush | 39 comments | Create New Account
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