Nationals Release Elijah Dukes

The Nationals released outfielder Elijah Dukes, according to a team press release.  According to a tweet from MASN's Ben Goessling, the move had nothing to do with off-the-field issues.  This is very surprising news, as Dukes projected as the team's starting right fielder and has a minor league option left.  Goessling talked to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, who said the team made many attempts to trade Dukes but could not find an interested team (Twitter link).  Dukes' time with Washington was marked by injuries and a disappointing '09 season.

Dukes, 25, hit .250/.337/.393 in 416 plate appearances last year, playing a below-average right and center field (according to UZR).  He also played 22 games in the minors.  Dukes has avoided off-the-field problems since Jim Bowden acquired him from the Rays in December of '07, with a June '08 dugout confrontation with Manny Acta probably his worst offense.  Just a couple of weeks ago Goessling noted that the Nationals had "taken the reins off Dukes — letting his personal adviser go and allowing him more freedom with the media." 


Leave a Reply

58 Comments on "Nationals Release Elijah Dukes"


coach_coryell
5 years 4 months ago

dunn to RF, willingham to 1b, desmond to LF?

gwells
5 years 4 months ago

no. why would you move 1B dunn to the OF and OF willingham to 1B because you released a different OF?

coach_coryell
5 years 4 months ago

just speculating that dunn might have a better arm for RF than willingham and they seem to love desmond who they could teach to play LF for the time being.

gwells
5 years 4 months ago

desmond has a better arm than either (and is considered one of the best athletes on the team).

dunno what they’ll do with desmond. rizzo has talked a good game about him playing SS every day somewhere, either AAA or in washington.

but you won’t see dunn back in the OF.

bbxxj
5 years 4 months ago

Willingham has a better arm than Dunn from what I have seen and has more recent and overall experience in RF than Dunn has. Also, I really doubt they move Desmond to to LF because what makes his bat attractive is the fact that it comes from a SS. If you place him in LF where he may not even be a plus defender, his bat suddenly does not look very good.

coach_coryell
5 years 4 months ago

dunn was recruited our of HS to play QB for texas, and began his career as a RF for the reds so he probably has a pretty good arm. the nats talked earlier about making desmond a supersub and playing some OF, and LF is easiest to learn. he might not be the ideal LF bat but his bat is major league ready–he’s only blocked by guzman and his 8 million dollar contract. willingham has a bad back and might benefit from less running in the OF. again, just speculating.

jdub220
5 years 4 months ago

But Adam Dunn is horrible in the field, so his defensive woes are minimized at first. His defense his historically bad. His UZR in 2009 was the worst ever in a season.

coach_coryell
5 years 4 months ago

i know that dunn is awful in the field. i think everyone does. but did that prevent the nationals from throwing him out in LF before they dealt nick johnson last year? NO. and i don’t put it past them to do it again this year either. even reggie jackson played right field everyday when it was clear that he’d become a terrible defender. and frankly i’d rather have willingham at first and healthy for 550 at bats, than a gimpy 375, even if it means dunn lumbers around out there in RF.

Guest
5 years 4 months ago

But Dunn is a worse outfielder than Daniel Murphy…

osfan3000
5 years 4 months ago

wow this really is a surprize and caught me off guard. they said he was the sarting RF. Sadly, he has been a dissappointment and unable to live up to expectations. Im guessing they are gonna go with a younger outfielder such as Maxwell or Bernadina?

susasskuash
5 years 4 months ago

Bernadina is only 6 days younger than Dukes, and Maxwell is actually about 6 months older than Dukes. Dukes is only 25, had options left and had not even hit arbitration yet, so they weren’t “making room” for somebody. If that was the case, they could send Dukes to AAA and/or wait for a trade to develop. Something bigger happened here, I’m really curious what it was. I was really pulling for Dukes to turn his life around and realize his potential in a Nats uniform.

josh01632
5 years 4 months ago

Ian Desmond has been having a solid spring and they’ve been giving him some innings in RF. Management has suggested that if Desmond isn’t in an every day role in the majors that he should get every day playing time in the minors. I bet they’ll give Desmond enough at bats from RF to allow him to stay in the majors as more than just a backup 2B/SS at least until they can move Guzman.

sjberke1
5 years 4 months ago

Really extraordinary–there must have been some sort of blowup, especially since Dukes had an option year left, and they could have just sent him down if it was a matter of on-field performance.

osodani
5 years 4 months ago

What??? Seriously, they couldn’t find someone to take him off their hands? And they couldn’t use him as a reserve? He must have done something seriously wrong here.

5 years 4 months ago

Jermaine Dye?

NL_East_Rivalry
5 years 4 months ago

That’s what came to my mind, but wouldn’t they have just signed him first, then droped Dukes?

bbxxj
5 years 4 months ago

That is really is suprising news. All I can remember about him this spring is about how he was primed for a nice year and had turned things around a bit.

Teams where he could latch on:

Pittsburg:

I know they have Church, Jones and others who can play RF but this teams seems like one that is willing to let talented but perhaps troubled players like Lastings Milledge have some playing time and another opportunity to reach their potential.

San Francisco:

Right field isn’t exactly locked down and they may be willing to give him a shot to earn a starting gig.

Florida and Minnesota:

Neither of these teams would look at Dukes as a starter but they are both contenders who are a bit thin in OF depth. Dukes isn’t a great defender but can play any OF spot in short periods of time when needed and would be a solid bat off the bench.

Also, who know does Washington put in RF? The easiest thing to do would just be to play Maxwell in RF and see if his stellar D and decent walk rate plays in the majors over a full season. Dye would also be an option here as would a trade for a LF or RF as Willingham can play in either spot. They also could trade for a 1B and move Dunn back to LF and Willingham back to RF. Who knows, but none of them seem like fantastic options.

Drew
5 years 4 months ago

While we could use the backup CF help, the Twins aren’t really known for their ability to change attitudes and reform pouty players (See: Delmon Young). Not to mention we’d be stuck AGAIN with the “who gets cut/trade/sent down” problem.

Our bench right now is:

Thome
Butera/Ramos
Casilla/Tolbert/Harris
Harris/Tolbert/Casilla

Thome is a lock, we need one of Butera/Ramos, that leaves two spots for the last three guys. Casilla out of option years, so he’s likely… There’s some chance we could bring Revere with us, but not likely…

Essentially, signing Dukes to a Major League contract sends both Tolbert and Harris back to AAA and locks Punto into a no-doubt full-time 3B spot

Rashomon
5 years 4 months ago

Maybe he could get Delmon going. Problem is you gotta move Casilla for bus fare. I like a bench of :

Thome
Butera/Ramos
Harris
Dukes

Drew
5 years 4 months ago

See, I still think Casilla has value. Either he needs to step up and earn a job, or step up and prove his worth so trading partners get interested in him. It’s so frustrating to have Perkins and Casilla as perfect pieces of trade bait that simply refuse to impress potential suitors…

Rashomon
5 years 4 months ago

Tell me about it. I saw both Casilla and Perkins in spring ball last week and disappointment is an understated word.

Guest
5 years 4 months ago

When healthy, Jose Morales will be the backup catcher.

InTheKZone
5 years 4 months ago

Someone will give him a shot if nothing more than an off the bench option. Dukes still has a ton of potential but he seriously needs to get his head on straight.

justincb
5 years 4 months ago

Can’t believe the Nats are straight-up releasing guys like that…

SpringtownRoyal
5 years 4 months ago

please god, let the Royals pick him up and drop Guillen.

Please.

grownice
5 years 4 months ago

come on jays grab him!

alxn
5 years 4 months ago

I was thinking the same thing. He would make some sense for the Jays.

grownice
5 years 4 months ago

Agreed , issues aside i think this would be a good security blanket if anything if say snider doesnt make the team , dukes wouldnt be the worst option off the bench either, sopecially competing with jeremy reed and joey gathright.

5 years 4 months ago

If the Yanks didnt sign Winn, Dukes could be a nice option for LF.

Peter_Gammons
5 years 4 months ago

Internal discussions with the Nationals involve sending Elijah Dukes to Milwaukee as part of a trade package for Ryan Braun–this is news.

isaac_k
5 years 4 months ago

This would be great, but with an unconditional release this is off the table completely, yes? Releasing Dukes makes no sense at all to me. I live in DC and saw him play quite a bit over the past few years, his personal issues were getting better, his hitting was improving and the few games I attended where he had late inning opportunities, he delivered. He’s been limited by a few injuries and a crowded outfield last year, but that seemed to have relieved itself paving the way for a good year from him. ..and then this. I’m seriously confused.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

Dude.

Guest
5 years 4 months ago

Same here. So there were no trade suitors–he’s still under team control, let him start out the season and trade him then. I just don’t understand this move at all.

jcrabtree7
5 years 4 months ago

Can someone please give props to Destin Hood? I’m not only saying that bc I played with him in high school, but the guy is a beast with a bat in his hand. True, he may not be ready yet, but if he continues on his current path, I could see him in RF in July.

WolandJR
5 years 4 months ago

Hood has immense amounts of talent, but hasn’t even played above low A ball yet. 2010 is an optimistic arrival schedule to say the least. Must have been really cool to play with him in HS though.

5 years 4 months ago

I’d like to see him on the Braves. The guys has plenty of talent, he just needs the right situation to succeed.

jhawk90
5 years 4 months ago

Long Island Ducks are making an offer as we speak. Imagine the possibilities…

dickylarue
5 years 4 months ago

If this wasn’t disciplinary, I think he’ll be a Yankee. Thames, Winn, Gardner and Hoffman haven’t exactly lit it up and the Yankees need a LF who hits RH. It almost makes too much sense.

If this was another blowup by Dukes, then he’ll be playing in the independent league or Japan.

5 years 4 months ago

I’d rather have Elijah Dukes as my RF than Jeff Francouer. Just sayin’.

5 years 4 months ago

There’s a long list of guys I’d rather have than Jeff Francoeur.

5 years 4 months ago

Sad thing id JF has had the better career. That’s why I don’t get the fawning over Dukes. Screw all this “supposed talent” he hasn’t done anything on the field. I see giving him a chance, but not rushing to make him a starter. WAS gave him his shot & he did nothing.

5 years 4 months ago

Goessling gave an update explaining the reasoning.

link to masnsports.com

This could work out pretty nice for whoever gets him.

aap212
5 years 4 months ago

I wonder if Rizzo text messaged him a picture of the Newark Bears.

“I ain’t even lyin’.”

Truitalian9
5 years 4 months ago

give hoffman back to LA and sign dukes. hes got the potential to be a stud.