Just like with JJ Hardy, the Brewers avoided an arbitration hearing by agreeing to a 1 year $4 mill contract with Dave Bush. A nice little raise for Bush who made $2.55 Mill in 2008. Bush had a solid 2008 after a very rocky start in April and May that got him demoted to AAA Nashville. He went 9-10 with a 4.18 ERA and sparkling WHIP of 1.14. After the All-Star break Bush was 7-3 with a 3.23 ERA. Oh and you can't forget that gem he pitched in game 3 of the NLDS against the Phillies at Miller Park.
To me Bush is the most underrated player on the club. I will be honest with you, I chastised this guy at the beginning of last year when he had that ERA over 6 and was giving up long ball after long ball. But when you look at what he has done since joining the Brewers in 2006 (now as the prize of the Overbay trade), what he did after April/May last year and at his stuff he is a damn good pitcher and has become one of my favorites on the Brewers. The thing with Dave Bush is he has always given up HR's, (25+ the each of the last 3 seasons) but he doesn't give up a lot of walks or hits. When he gets in trouble it's long balls early in the game. If he can cut down on the HRs given up he could easily have an ERA under 4.
Besides giving up the HR the only other thing holding Dave back from being a legit #3 pitcher and possibly a #2 is slow starts. He historically has been bad in April and May, real bad. Bush told the JS's Tom Haudricourt today that he hopes and plans to find his groove much earlier in the season. I will go out and say right now on January 15th, Dave Bush will win at least 14 games for the Brewers in 2009. You heard it here first. He has already won 12 twice, he can make it to 14 with another ERA around 4 give or take and another WHIP in the 1.14ish range. Please make me look smart Dave, for your sake, mine and most important the Brewers.