Assessing Elijah Dukes’ Value

Most 25-year-olds don't hit the open market, especially if they have a .349 career on base percentage and a track record of success in the minors. A .280/.369/.451 minor league batting line is better than average, but Elijah Dukes is not your average outfielder. 

The reputation he developed as a trouble-maker has been hard to shed and there's been little reported interest in Dukes since the Nationals released him about a month ago. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports noted (via Twitter) that multiple teams were interested in late March, but there's been no reported interest in Dukes since.

Dukes seemed like a promising player as recently as last spring, but Ben Goessling of MASN.com says the Nats released Dukes because of his on-field performance (Twitter link). Dukes' outfield defense is below average, according to UZR, and his on base and slugging percentages dropped considerably last year, so the Nationals have a point.

Even though Dukes had a poor season last year, he gets on base, he's young and he's controllable. He is a pre-arbitration player, so the team that signs Dukes will have the rights to his services through 2013. There's no doubt that Dukes' past limits interest in him, but he has enough positives that it would be surprising not too see some club sign Dukes.


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26 Comments on "Assessing Elijah Dukes’ Value"


Member
Suzysman
5 years 2 months ago

“but he has enough positives that it would be surprising not too see some club sign Dukes.”

Surprising maybe, but it sure doesnt seem like teams are lining up to add him for some reason… Really makes you wonder how much there is beyond what the media knows or has been allowed to comment on

Member
Will_Clarks_Gauchos
5 years 2 months ago

If Milton Bradley can continue to work, I see no reason why Dukes can’t. However, there are a lot of options available for a player with a decent bat who plays outfield. Jermaine Dye may not be as athletic or young, but he hits the ball not umps or women. Dukes four baby mamas can’t help either.

Member
icedrake523
5 years 2 months ago

The only reason Bradley is still in baseball is because of the dumb contract the Cubs gave him last year. I’d be shocked if a team signed him after next year when that contract is up.

Member
Will_Clarks_Gauchos
5 years 2 months ago

Bradley got that contract after everyone knew he was a malcontent. I’m not defending either Dukes or Bradley, I think they’re both disgusting, but it cannot be said that the Cubs didn’t know what they were getting. Remember Bradley ending the season flipping out in San Diego?

Member
Suzysman
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah, but Bradley is also considered to have so much more ability then Dukes, and has shown it. When a player has shown himself to be one of the top players in the game, you might be more inclined to overlook or give it a try and hope for the best when it comes to the other stuff. But when a player has shown very little on top of all his issues?

I will say, I was completely against the Bradley deal. I cant stand him and was saying on day one it was a gigantic mistake. And I had a huge laugh just two days ago when Bradley flipped on the fans in Texas of all places. (werent those the fans that people claimed supported him? Lol) But, after the production he showed, I can at least understand why a foolish GM (and we probably have the foolish-ish-est, whatever…) thinking he did great one season (well, outside that incident in KC that seemed to go unnoticed by most – Hendry apparently missed it) with amazing numbers (just not likely to repeat if you know stats – Hendry doesnt) would think “hey, this can be a fantastic deal and I think I can make him happy here”. Especially since Bradley took Hendry on an expensive date where he basically begged him to play for the Cubs – I’ll tell ya, if you wave a hot dog in front of Jimmy-Boys face he is willing to give you anything you want. Just imagine what Steak and Lobster can get you!

Dukes has all the baggage and almost none of the results though. Plus, timing is horrible since GMs probably already filled all their needs and will now likely have to release someone to add him in. But do you leave him off the 40 man and stick him in the minors, running the risk he becomes anxious about not being called up, takes it as a huge slap in his face and eventually creates an issue over it? What happens the first time you pass him up to instead call up someone actually on the 40man to fill in for injury? It might be a sticky and risky situation just to add a guy recently released because of his attitude just in hopes he plays as good to better then 2008 and nothing like his 2007 or 2009.

Member
Will_Clarks_Gauchos
5 years 2 months ago

So you’re saying Dukes is done?

Member
Suzysman
5 years 2 months ago

I would never say there is no chance he plays again, but I do find it shocking that no one put a claim in.

Any team could have had him (or at least kept him away from their competitors if they thought he was that good) for nothing more then league minimum and a 40-man spot a month ago when rosters werent even all full yet. Still, apparently no one put in a claim. If (many) teams still had spots, were guaranteed to get their man and were guaranteed to pay nothing more then minimum with multiple years of control yet still passed… Well, dont you see that as curious?

He may very well be headed to the independent leagues, possibly never to return.

Member
Will_Clarks_Gauchos
5 years 2 months ago

I would never want my team to sign him, but I think he’ll be back for sure. There have been lots of players who have had personal/legal issues and continued to come back starting with Steve Howe in the 80s.

You have a lot of questions, and I’ll give you the answer. We don’t know what his contractual demands were. Perhaps he was approached by a club who required him to take a minor league deal and he decided to get all Jermaine Dye. Maybe he wanted a ton of money. I find it hard to believe that if he made it known that he would accept the league min. on a minor league deal that he couldn’t get a job.

Member
Suzysman
5 years 2 months ago

“You have a lot of questions, and I’ll give you the answer. We don’t know what his contractual demands were.”

He had to clear waivers to even be released. The process is DFA him and if you dont trade him by the 7th day you have to put him on waivers. (Edit to clarify, you can skip this 7 day trade process and instantly put him on waivers if you like – probably what they did) Once on waivers, anyone can just take him. If no one takes him from waivers, then you can release him.

Now, his demands would have no barring on it. He isnt arbitration eligible yet, so if a team had claimed him the team could have paid him anything they wanted. He couldnt make demands if he was claimed, he would have been bound to the rules.

But still no team was willing to claim him and pay him whatever they wanted. That’s what I am saying – you dont find that odd? Outfielder Jai Miller was claimed by the A’s in this manor just three days ago. Yet no one claimed Dukes?

And if no one was willing to pay him whatever they wanted a month ago…

Member
Will_Clarks_Gauchos
5 years 2 months ago

You’re right about the contract deal, I overlooked that. However, this was supposed to be a post about Dukes, not Bradley. Dukes will work again. Howe, Strawberry and Gooden all came back. Kevin Mitchell was, by his friends own accounts, a straight up thug and he played ball quite successfully.

Coke makes a nice point, Bradley had one decent season in a hitters park in Texas. Last season, we saw him regress to the mean.

Guest
5 years 2 months ago

Are you saying Bradley has been one of the “top players in the game” at some point in his career? He’s never been. If if Jim Hendry and the Cubs had ignored Bradley’s mental problems, which apparently they did, there is nothing in Bradley’s past to suggest he was worth that contract or expecting him to be a middle of the order hitter. Number 1, he can’t stay healthy. Number 2, he’s never driven in more than 77 runs, and has only driven in more than 56 runs twice. Bradley, if healthy and not insane, is a number 2 hitter or bottom of the order hitter, not a 3-4-5 hitter, but Hendry ignored proven middle of the order hitters who signed for much less to instead sign a nutbag jerk who is injury prone and not a productive middle of the order bat. It’s mind boggling how Hendry keeps his job. He did the same thing again this offseason, bringing in Marlon Byrd off another Texas career year, and expects him to be a middle of the order bat, something Byrd is not.

Member
Suzysman
5 years 2 months ago

“Are you saying Bradley has been one of the “top players in the game” at some point in his career?”

Yep, he sure was

2008 he had the 4th highest wOBA in the game with a .428 mark. 2007 his overall .405 wOBA would have been good enough for 15th if he qualified, and he posted a .427 after arriving in San Diego. Overall, from 2007-2008 he posted a combined .417 wOBA, good enough for 5th among all players with 500+ PA. Yes, you heard that right – he was the 5th best hitter in the game of everyone with 500 PA in the two seasons prior to his contract. (Being behind Chipper, Albert, ARod and Holliday and above Ortiz, Tex, Wright and Hanley. – hardly what I would call a group of bottom of the order hitters)

Now being a stat man, I know there were abnormalities in his stat lines which made them extremely unlikely to be repeated. But if you had bothered to read what I posted, you would actually know that…

Member
twins06
5 years 2 months ago

I would like the twins to sign him and put him in triple-A get him into shape and if there is an injury bring him up to the majors. That way we have both Jones and Dukes and can choose between the two

Member
Drew
5 years 2 months ago

Eh, we don’t really have an excellent track record of turning problem players into reliable guys. And I’d also say that more than almost any team in the league, we need clubhouse chemistry… I’m not too up on this.

Member
orioles
5 years 2 months ago

I’d like to see the O’s pick him up on a minor league deal to replace Jeff Salazar in AAA. Maybe he could get his career back on track and become expendable. If he rebounds, that could also make Pie/Reimold expendable in a trade for a bigger name player.

Member
Trious
5 years 2 months ago

He is a total disaster off the field and is a clubhouse annoyance. Not so much a cancer but someone who is not well liked by others as he does his own thing

Member
gwells
5 years 2 months ago

yeah, there were a bunch of subtle quotes from other nationals players about how much better the clubhouse was after he left.

Guest
5 years 2 months ago

The guy is not well liked by others because he is a ticking timebomb. Example: “Another Rays’ farmhand, Ryan Knox, saw Dukes’ temper up close and personal. In 2004, Knox was Elijah’s third roommate in three months. At first, they got along fine as Knox began to consider Dukes a friend. Then one day, the bright-eyed and affable Dukes suddenly turned dour and cold. … Knox didn’t move fast enough. Like Hebner before him, Knox felt the full strength of Dukes’ hands begin to choke off his air supply. ‘Knox, I’m done with you! was all Dukes said before throwing him to the ground. ‘With him, it was kill or be killed'” (link to bleacherreport.com)

Is that not a cancer? Admittedly, it’s been a few years since then but the guy went through 3 room mates in 3 months. He’s made huge strides, not having a run-in with the law since 2008, but I mean… seriously. I have a feeling he does his own thing because everybody just wants to steer clear of him and avoid trouble. People probably feel safer now that he’s gone. That’s what the Rays seemed to say.