Thursday, November 22, 2007

Duke's A Blue Devil

So the moldering embers of a rumor that started last week in some spanish-language newspaper seem to be exploding into a more intense flame. The Nats are interested -- according to a team source -- in getting troubled wife-and-child-threaten-to-killer Elijah Dukes.

Our good friends at NTP already did the work for me, writing why this would be a bad idea. In part:
I don't want Elijah Dukes to be a member of the Washington Nationals. I don't want him to put on a uniform and be held up as a representative of my team and my city. I don't want him to be a symbol of what the Nationals stand for or what DC-area children should aspire to. It's not often that character trumps talent in professional sports. But this is one time when it damn well should.

Some athletes, like Josh Hamilton, come right to the brink of squandering their prodigious talent before they figure it out. Others, like Young, have a good reputation marred by one unforgivable incident. And some guys, like Robert Fick, just do stupid things because, well, they're kinda stupid. Elijah Dukes is in another category. He's not Hamilton, who was mostly just hurting himself. He's not Dmitri Young, who had a 30-year track record of being a pretty okay guy to fall back on. And he's not Fick, who will forever be linked to one inexplicable dumbass on-field decision. Right now, Elijah Dukes is a danger to himself and a detriment to everyone he comes into contact with.

He's right. Dukes is different than all those other guys.

And while he's got a world of potential, and is abstractly the perfect buy-low candidate, I want nothing to do with him. And that the team would be interested in him to the extent they seemingly are troubles me. Character isn't the most important thing; it's certainly overrated.

If you want a troubled guy with an upside, sign Milton Bradley. He hasn't (I think!) threatened to kill his kids, leaving his fights to jackass umpired and noted repugnant thugs like Jeff Kent. But because the bulk of his character 'problems' occur on the field, instead of in his estranged wife's (girlfriend's?) school classroom, they'd probably never consider it.

  • Have a happy Thanksgiving. Be sure to save me some stuffing.


    • He'll be coming in fairly cheap and Bowden is clearly hoping he'll be the next Dmitri Young.

      But yeah, we don't really need him and that the team is interested in him smacks more of desparation to make a move and of (dread words here) 'making a statement'.

      If we're going to get a Tampa OF, Baldelli has a slightly higher upside and far less baggage.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/22/2007 9:27 AM  

    • Word is we don't have enough for Baldelli. Tolman's assurances about Dukes turnaround are fine, but it is hard to get excited about this guy as the answer in CF. This is a Bowden move. Bowden's faith in moral makeovers starts at home of course, but an entire team of them???? No thanks.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/22/2007 9:58 AM  

    • You can put almost zero faith in Tolman's words.

      He's not going to blast him. Nothing good would come from that. And he probably HAS played hard for him. But so what? That's not Dukes' problems.

      And even if he wasn't going particularly well, it wouldn't behoove Tolman to say nothing if his boss -- who probably wanted to fire him -- really was interested in the guy.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/22/2007 10:08 AM  

    • This news is about as depressing as Agent Zero being out for three months.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/22/2007 10:33 AM  

    • I just fail to understand why the Nats hate Ryan Church so much. He would be a well above average CF (and defensively very good too) if they would just let the man play. Sure, A. Jones would be an upgrade, but he's a superstar. Why continually try to fix it if it ain't broke to begin with?

      By Blogger Michael Taylor, at 11/22/2007 1:48 PM  

    • Does anybody here read Spanish? I followed the St. Petersburg Times story to this November 13 story in Periodico 7 Dias. If I'm understanding this correctly, the Rays not only would want us to pay to take Elijah Dukes off their hands, they'd want one of our pitching prospects as well.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/22/2007 5:12 PM  

    • Actually, the article mainly emphasizes that the Nats will not part with one of their main pitching prospects. Beyond that, it only says that the two teams have not agreed to the price.

      By Blogger Positively Half St., at 11/22/2007 8:03 PM  

    • I absolutely don't want this guy in a Nat's uniform. I don't care how much upside he has. If even half of the story about him threatening his wife/girlfriend are true, I wouldn't take him. Major scumbag in my book.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/22/2007 8:52 PM  

    • Dukes comes cheap and that's most important ingredient to this possible deal. Who's next, Charles Manson?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/22/2007 10:07 PM  

    • Put another patch on this 1964 Rambler and get it back on the road! Dukes is the perfect retread as we S-L-O-W-L-Y begin our march toward 81-and-81. He's checkered, cheesy and cheap. When we it dawn on all of us? The Nationals and Uncle Ted don't have to spend a nickel and they'll still draw 2.5 million next year on the Novelty Factor. They won't spend for one major FA; just fill in around the edges with the Dukes, Jiminezes and Ficks from the cutout bin. Actually, as a business strategy, it makes perfect sense. 2008 salaries will come in under $55 million, total. Count on it.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/22/2007 10:09 PM  

    • Uh, what was Fick's inexplicable on field mistake? I mean, there was the failed bunt, etc, but I guess I am not up on my Fick lore to know what would get him lumped in with these guys. I thought he was just a goofball.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/23/2007 10:46 AM  

    • Fick deliberately tried to hurt Eric Karros by giving him an arm bar as he ran down to first base a few years back when he was with the Braves.

      His expletive-filled post-game rant, which, in part, seemed to suggest that Bobby Cox approved of it (when he most likely wouldn't!) is what helped hasten his departure out of town.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 11/23/2007 11:00 AM  

    • I really think that the Nats getting Dukes is about as inevitable as the Nats getting Wily Mo Pena had been. I believe that Bowden makes up his mind on something like this, and then it is merely a matter of time. It's not that different than Dmitri, only in that the second they signed him, Lee and Broadway really didn't stand a chance of being our first baseman.

      Elijah Dukes is on his way. We will have to adjust to it, and hope for the best.

      By Blogger Positively Half St., at 11/23/2007 11:42 AM  

    • The beauty of the Nats' low payroll strategy is that it makes all the business sense in the world (who can argue, business-wise, with raking in tens of millions off of a gifted new stadium, without needing to boost payroll all that much?)--while at the same time making baseball sense too.

      We are being told that money saved now will pay dividends in the future, when you just need at add one or two pieces to the puzzle to get to the World Series.

      Instead of signing a FA center fielder now, why not wait until you need him to contend? If you sign Torii Hunter now, he will be 35 or 36 or older by the time the Nats are able to contend. So wait and sign a younger FA in three years.

      Of course, this requires a lot of belief on our part: Belief that a FA signing now will hurt the future Nats by shooting the future budget. And belief that the Nats really will open up in the future.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/23/2007 2:06 PM  

    • Well, this would be interesting. We should not have to give up anything to get this nutcase. Hopefully we can steer clear of this mess and keep our team's text messages PG.


      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/23/2007 11:24 PM  

    • ARL-
      I read that same article in the Dominican paper, and it definitely sounds more like Tampa is trying to dump this guy than it does we are trying to grab him. (It doens't even say which organization their "source" is with.) I think this all started cuz Tolman is manager for the Licey Tigers, but I don't think anything will come of it.
      This asshole could easily wind up in prison before spring training.

      By Blogger Rob B, at 11/25/2007 7:26 PM  

    • Of course, this requires a lot of belief on our part: Belief that a FA signing now will hurt the future Nats by shooting the future budget. And belief that the Nats really will open up in the future.

      Well, the payroll in $4m higher than it should be because of an intemperate FA signing three years ago. Can you guess who I am writing of?

      We have one owner in Washington who spends TOO much on players and another one who's too cheap to spend on players. Can't someone in this town get the formula right?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/26/2007 4:48 PM  

    • Maybe Dukes will turn out to be benevolent crazy, like Tracy Jordan.

      It'd probably take Mike Tyson-esque dosages of horse tranquilizers though.

      By Blogger Ollie, at 11/27/2007 4:22 AM  

    • I say what I said earlier in the year. Someone like Dukes is simply too messed up to have any chance to be a productive player for any significant period of time. This isn't Milton Bradley who's proven to be a net plus the 3/4 of a season that he's reasonably sane. It isn't Dmitri Young who's a quality player when he's not simultaneously distracted by a single serious screw-up and a life-threatening illness. This is a guy with multiple demons all of which can blow up any second. He is poison and Bowden is a blithering idiot if he can't see that.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/27/2007 11:43 AM  

    • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/21/2009 4:36 AM  

    • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/22/2009 10:33 PM  

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