As the Brewers’ union representative, Dave Bush knows better than most that business and baseball often intersect. That means he’s ready for anything in Spring Training.
Bush agreed to terms on a one-year, $4.215 million contract Monday to avoid arbitration, but still faces a good deal of uncertainty about the 2010 season. The Brewers have six established starters for five spots, and financial considerations could make things somewhat complicated for Bush as he vies for one of them.
Budding ace Yovani Gallardo and offseason free agent acquisitions Randy Wolf and Doug Davis figure to take the top three spots in the rotation, leaving right-handers Bush and Jeff Suppan and left-hander Manny Parra to battle for the other two. But Parra is out of Minor League options and the Brewers are unlikely to risk losing him via waivers, so he has a foot in the door. That would leave one job up for grabs between Suppan, who is guaranteed $12.5 million in the final season of his four-year contract, and Bush, whose full salary doesn’t become guaranteed until Opening Day.
If the Brewers cut loose Bush 16 or more days before the season opener, they owe him only one-sixth of his salary. If they cut him between that deadline and Opening Day, he gets one-fourth of his salary.
There’s also the possibility, of course, that someone could bump to the bullpen. Bush, who will be eligible for free agency after the season, is ready for all of the scenarios.
“I really haven’t given it much thought, to be honest with you,” he said. “We’re still in the offseason and I’m focused on getting myself in shape and preparing myself for Spring Training, but if I have to come to Spring Training and win a spot, it will be three times in five years. So it’s not anything new for me. I never go into a situation assuming I have a job. I always go in with the mindset that I have to win it.
“If it turns out that there’s a move to be made, so be it. I’m smart enough to know all the different factors that can play out in a situation like this. There are some of them I can control, and some of them I can’t. If the situation comes up where it doesn’t work for me any more in Milwaukee, then that’s that. There would not be any hard feelings. I’ve enjoyed my time in Milwaukee.
“I understand that there are always business decisions to be made. I’m prepared for any and all of it.”