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Nationals After Elijah Dukes

According to Ken Rosenthal, Jim Bowden and the Washington Nationals are attempting to trade for Devil Rays center fielder Elijah Dukes.  Rosenthal notes that Bowden has before extended opportunities with players with off-the-field problems, most recently Dmitri Young.

Dukes, who will turn 23 later this month, has an interesting line on the season.  He's at .199/.321/.409 with ten home runs and thirty walks in 209 plate appearances.  It's an odd way to arrive at a .730 OPS, but ultimately puts him pretty close to the average AL center fielder (.260/.332/.408).  Obviously once Dukes' batting average catches up - and I think it will - his OBP will be quite solid. 

Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA system shows comparables for Dukes like Rondell White, Jack Clark, Matt Holliday, Ellis Valentine, Vernon Wells, and Michael Cuddyer.  Current Nationals Alex Escobar, Austin Kearns, Ryan Langerhans, and Mike Restovich all make his top twenty as well.  I find that strange...maybe Bowden is collecting a certain type of player. 

Dukes of course carries ridiculous character and anger management issues as baggage.  The theory is that moving him away from Tampa Bay could calm him down. In the past, the Pirates and Marlins have expressed interest in Dukes.


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I'd like the A's to take a flier on Dukes if he is available. The A's seem to collect personality defects as of late.

On a side note, would an outfield of Milledge/Bradley/Dukes be the most dysfunctional outfield ever?

Dukes sure has talent but he needs to show at least some interest in fixing his personal problems before I'd touch him. I don't follow the Rays so maybe he has already taking some steps. I wouldn't be to happy if the Braves went out and got him unless it was insanely cheap which wont be the case with the Rays FO.

It could be. Strawberry and Beane is up there. :D I’m joking more than anything but they had their problems that is for sure.

He's exactly the sort of player that the Nationals should be taking a flyer on, he's slightly cheaper than he should be and has an insane upside.

If he were to find some peace in his personal life, you could see a Zimmerman, Dukes, Kearns middle of the order being strong and controllable into the time they should be able to contend.

Mind you, what do they have to give up? Cordero maybe?

I doubt they would give Cordero for him, they are supposedly asking a fortune for Cordero and most likely will get it. But they do have some nice bullpen arms.

With Upton getting hurt friday (not sure how long he is out) I doubt they move dukes anywhere.

That said I rather see him going to Florida hitting behind Cabrera and next to Willingham and Hanley. Good fit there and florida has some relief arms they might like that are young and closer potential

Once a screw up, always a screw up. I hate to rain on the parade, but Elijah Dukes is a punk with high upside. Nothing more, nothing less. Everybody can see he has talent. I don't think he is quite in the class of Delmon Young, but he's definitely got the ability to be a top-tier outfielder in this league. But he has anger issues, a la Carl Everett and the countless members of that list.

Being a New York Football Giants fan, I will always remember the 1997 NFL Draft. Apparently, it was widely known around the league that the Giants had fallen in love with a wide receiver from Colorado with a troubled history. His name? Rae Carruth. Luckily, the Giants took a pass on that headache of a player and took UF WR Ike Hilliard instead.

I know this may seem like rambling, but my point is that it is always best to stay away from the troubled personalities. They rarely clean up their act.

I agree. He probably won't change much but if he does, he could be a real star.

He can probably be had for just a little pitching which is why the White Sox should totally be in on this.

He could be a huge acquisitio for them and it wouldn't cost them much to get him.

What could the Nationals offer anyway ? That's the worst pitching in baseball and what else does Tampa need ?

It seems those that know him can attest to his character. The women who had to put out restraining orders, the Rays who suspended him twice while he played at Durham, the Durham team who has let the Rays know they will not take him back, speak loudly as what association with Dukes can lead to . This is just a plain bad path to take. Not only should the Nationals not trade for him, baseball should suspend him. Josh Hamilton is a good example to follow. He was suspended until baseball could ascertain he had overcome his addictions. Is a druggy worse then a thug that has a history of violence toward women? He hasn't been convicted of a crime, however, baseball suspends drug abusers just for testing positive without having to actually be convicted of drug possession or use. Does Dukes actually have to kill someone to be suspended? This is Tampa's problem, they have a history of collecting these players: Delmon Young, Josh Hamilton, Elijah Dukes, and B.J. Upton.

Iron Nat, I'm not sure I would qualify Delmon Young as a thug per se. He did throw his bat at the umpire, which no fan can defend at all. Nor am I trying to. But besides that blip on the radar, he really hasn't been in too much trouble over his career.

And Josh Hamilton was a drug addict long after the Devil Rays selected him first overall in the draft. The Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel story really opened my eyes to his problems. It sounded like he was a homebody who was immersed into a world he neither knew nor was comfortable in. Thus, he turned to tattoos, booze, and drugs. Sad story, but it's nice to see him come out of it.


Hmm what do Elijah Dukes, Delmon Young and BJ Upton ALL have in common that would make you classify them as thugs


I wonder

I don't qualify Delmon Young and B.J. Upton as thugs at all. I do classify Elijah Dukes as one. Anybody who has his track record isn't somebody I'd want in my organization.

Screw anger issues. I dont care how much of a bastard a player is, if he is performing on the field I will take it.

The Nationals would be very smart to get Dukes cheap. If his average gets up to like .250 his numbers are very good. His arm is a cannon, hed make a very good outfielder.

As for his anger issue, first off I dont care, it doesnt affect how I judge him. Secondly getting away from Tampa and his wife may be the best thing for him. Let him move to Washington DC away from his old friends and such and maybe he will start behaving. In the end I couldnt care less, as long as he can post a good OPS I would take him on my team.

Dukes won't come cheap I don't think, even though Sternberg wants him gone they know what type of talent he is. He's a first rounder that dropped to the third round in the draft solely on character. He is born to play in the outfield and his defense would be very well suited for the Nats (in RFK anyway). As a Rays fan I would love to see Dukes leave the team and clear the outfield logjam in a trade for some good bullpen or catching. Maybe send Zobrist along with Dukes for Cordero? I'd hope the Rays can get some talent that is going ot be long term for the organization so they can stock up for 2008 and 2009. Catching and Relief pitching should be the main focus of the Rays if Dukes is traded.

What about Dukes to Atlanta for Salty? He could play leftfield this season and then take over in center after Jones leaves. The Rays would probably have to throw in some pitching as well considering that the Braves need pitching and an outfielder the most. So what about Dukes and Mason/Hammell for Salty?

I would be very upset if they put a player like Dukes inside the clubhouse in Atlanta. If I made a deal for Dukes, it would be to buy low and trade high. No way would I give anything of any value to get a guy with those kinds of problems. If he came extremely cheap, I'd take a flyer on him and hope the environment they have created rubbed off on him and then trade him. There is absolutely no way Dukes is a viable option for the Braves and certainly not for Salty.

MWD1202 - got a feeling you are trying to make a point by leaving out Josh Hamilton's name. Very lame.


Hmm what do Elijah Dukes, Delmon Young and BJ Upton ALL have in common that would make you classify them as thugs


I wonder

Iron Nat- You are a moron. You sound like a pretty ignorant bigot as well.

Please direct me to the evidence that shows BJ Upton and Delmon Young are also thugs?

Why not just throw Nick Price and Carl Crawford in there to. They must be thugs.

bosox, stop looking for racism in everything you see. he named hamilton too...go ahead and provide the skin tone check on that one.

Uhh this is the only time I've ever brought up race in a negative way

shut the hell up or you'll continue to reveal yourself as the idiot you are

Not to mention I have a completely valid point. What classifies those players as thugs outside of being black? What has BJ Upton or Delmon young ever done that earns them the title of thug?

I mentioned four troubled players - convenient you left the white guy out to try and paint me as racist. One Durham Bull's sports reporter refers to them as the following (Hamilton was out of the picture at the time): The "Bad Boy Bulls" (Triple-Bs) trio of Delmon "The Ump Hunter" Young, B.J. Upton and attitude anchor man Elijah Dukes drew more than 100 games in suspensions between them.

Maybe you should get in the 21st century and not view racism in every remark. Unlike yourself America is more and more looking at a man's character and not his color in making judgements.

Juan Pierre and Babe Ruth also have over 700 home runs between them - it doesn't make Juan Pierre a power hitter. Of those 100+ games that those three were suspended, 50 were for Delmon for one incident, and zero were for Upton. BJ had a DUI once. That's it, that's the only problem he's really had. For a little while, people questioned his hustle, but that seems to have gone away as well. Delmon is a curmudgeon, sort of like a less antisocial version of Barry Bonds, but he's not a thug. J-Ham and Dukes, sure, but people seem to always lump in Young, Dukes and Upton just because they're all buddies.

Did someone honestly ask about Salty for Dukes?

The trade value of Dukes is little with his off the field issues and headaches and character issues.

There is an old song called "here in the real world"

I suggest some of the dray's fans listen to it.

I'm a Drays fan and I realize that Dukes does not have a lot of trade value.
there I admit it.
I would bet that they would trade Dukes for an OK minor league reliever nad an iffy minor league reliever.

Really, I think the best thing for the guy would be a trade to an NL team far far away from Tampa. Take the girlfriend, the kids, start fresh.
Some one has to want to take a chance on his talent.

I left Hamilton out because the man had a drug addiction, was suspended from MLB and is just now returning. I wouldnt call him a thug, but obviously you're quick to bestow that title on whoever you can, I wasn't going to argue.

The fact is Delmon Young and BJ Upton have done nothing to be called thugs. Is everyone who gets suspended for 50 games a thug? If you have an attitude problem are you a thug?

It is fucking wrong to just so quickly label someone like that.

I'll go head and offer my two cents on the subject. As a writer for a local sports paper, I have read and written on the subject.

First off, the reason Dukes, Young and Upton are always grouped together is because of a USA Today article that broke last summer. In the story, the three players voiced their frustration and anger towards the Devil Rays organization for not being promoted. There were many that believed that they had earned as much, just as there were many that thought the players should be kept down longer for such negative statements against the organization.

Josh Hamilton never had any issues before the Rays drafted him nor did he ever have any problems on the field. After a near fatal car accident, his back was badly injured and he was not able to play for an extended amount of time. While he was injured, he started abusing prescribed pain killers, which ultimately led to drugs. Bad things can happen when your not able to play and you still have millions of dollars from a signing bonus. He was never considered a bad kid by any means, but his free time and heavy wallet got the best of him. For a few years, he kept fighting his addictions and openly said he needed help. The only thing that could truly help him break his habit was baseball, but unfortunately the commissioner suspended him indefinitely. Once the suspension was removed, he was able to get his life back on the right track and he played for Hudson Valley (Single-A) last season. If it wasn't for an injury towards the end of the season, there is a good chance the Rays would have protected him and and he would be on the fast track to the majors right now with the Rays.

Delmon Young has always been a very stoic young man, never showing any attitude or anger towards his fellow teammates or fans. Aside from the bat throwing incident, the only thing Delmon has done wrong is not seemed sympathetic enough towards the situation and remained unmoved from all the criticism. This kid simply wants to play the game and that it. You never see him show any emotion on the field after a game winning homerun or after throwing a runner out at the plate. Just like with Barry Bonds, sometime people read into this too much. He may not want to be the media's best friend, but it doesn't mean he's a bad kid either.

I have been a big fan of Upton for a long time. This kid has talent oozing at the seams. His work ethic and determination have been nothing short of any other player in baseball. As one poster mentioned, the DUI charge last summer has been the only negative against Upton. Lets face it, driving while intoxicated does not make you a bad person or a thug. It happens to everyone. That doesn't make it acceptable, but by no means does it speak towards his character.

Lastly, we have Elijah Dukes. The way I see it, Dukes is simply a product of his environment. Having grown up in the ghetto of Tampa without a father, Dukes was left to be the man of the family in a harsh neighborhood. He had to be tough, otherwise he might not have survived. Unfortunately it was this type of mindset that started negatively affecting his development as a player and as a young man. In high school, Dukes was in trouble numerous times for altercations with teammates and coaches. Since being drafted, these issues have not stopped. According to some of his teammates, other players would try to egg him on so that he would lash out and get in trouble again. None of this has ever been proven, but it would not surprise me. Ultimately, I do not think Dukes is a bad guy, but the environment he was raised in runs deep ans sometimes it gets the best of him. Nature v. Nurture.

Nice write up. You said exactly what I did with more factual basis and such. Thank you

There is nothing to show Delmon Young and BJ upton are thugs. Like I said earlier I wouldnt even call Hamilton a thug.

delmonmvp, thank you for clearing up the mess of confusion surrounding these guys. As a huge Rays fan I realize that there are lots of troubles the players in the organization have had (let's not forget Ryu who was acquired in the offseason after nearly being deported a few years back).
BJ Upton is not a thug nor can an argument be made that he is one.
Delmon Young is not a thug, though the argument can be made, but since his call up there have been ZERO problems with him or his character.
Elijah Dukes is a thug in my mind. Suspended in the past due to attitude problems, he was in jeopardy of losing his career in baseball just last year. Even in an interview back in April on MLB.com (http://tampabay.devilrays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070410&content_id=1890224&vkey=news_tb&fext=.jsp&c_id=tb) he came across as though he has a chip in his shoulder when he demeans the reporter for saying "The only thing easy is holding up a microphone and asking questions. That's about as easy as it gets."
I call him a thug because he doesn't get it. He is a major leaguer and somehow he feels untouchable and that he finally proved his detractors wrong. He can't just go out and play and be happy. Try watching a Rays game and see if they cut to Dukes after he strikes out at the plate. NO ONE GOES NEAR HIM. These are not characteristics of BJ Upton or Delmon Young or Josh Hamilton. Hell, Dukes got into trouble for marijuana just a few months ago even though he was going to be in the big leagues. He doesn't get it and won't change. I'll be glad to see him go, but I know that he won't be going for marginal talent either.
I think if something is to happen for Salty it would take at least Dukes and a top prospect starter from the Rays. Perhaps from Howell or Talbot or Sonnanstine? Throw Gomes in instead?

wihargo- I like the idea of Dukes going out west but not with the wife, who apparently won't divorce him now that he has become the gravy train. Might be a longshot but maybe a package could emerge to make a run at Linebrink; Cameron is an impending free agent for San Diego and Dukes has the power for that ballpark.

I definitely think that he should stay as far from his wife as possible. She already has a one year restraining order against him. All she cares about is the money. Apparently she was asking for almost 300 grand a year from him in child payments, which is pretty much his whole paycheck right now.

I really don't think the rays would be interested in trading for Linebrink at all. His is a pending free agent and and trade involving Dukes (or pretty much any other player) would have to be for players who would be under contract past this season. Its not like the Rays need Linebrink for a post season run or anything. A deal involving Meredith would be much more appealing.

"Lastly, we have Elijah Dukes. The way I see it, Dukes is simply a product of his environment. Having grown up in the ghetto of Tampa without a father, Dukes was left to be the man of the family in a harsh neighborhood"

He's such a man he fucks children. This combined with the death threats of his wife, have pushed him from troubled young man, to worthless douchebag.


So Dukes has consentual sex with a girl above the age of consent?

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