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Apr 052009

About six weeks ago, I wrote the following about Elijah Dukes:

The Nationals have a crowded outfield, with Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Milledge, and Dukes. Dukes seems to be the most likely to be traded, and his malcontent status is likely to keep any return for him fairly low. With the questions that the Yankees have in CF and the fact that most of their outfielders are free agents following the season, the Yankees would be well served by looking into a deal for Dukes. A deal built around Ian Kennedy may be a good starting point, with the Yankees throwing in another upper level prospect and some filler.

At the time, it seemed obvious to me that Dukes would start for the Nats, with Dunn going to 1B and Kearns headed to the bench. However, being that the Nats are a poorly run organization, it should not surprise anyone that they have decided to start Kearns over Dukes, ignoring Elijah’s immense potential and Kearns’ consistent decline. However bad the decision may be, it does signal that Dukes may be available. Josh Willingham has been sent to the bench as well, for the immortal Willie Harris, but he is unlikely to draw nearly as much interest as Dukes and would likely be more valuable to the team if they kept him.

If I were Brian Cashman, I would strongly consider swinging a deal for Dukes. The Nats have a very weak farm system, so that the Yankees may be able to put together a package of pitchers enticing enough to aquire the mercurial outfielder. He would fill the Melky Cabrera role in 2009, as he is a much better bat than Melky, is not appreciably worse in the field, and runs as well as, if not better than, Cabrera. He would allow the Yankees to field offers on Xavier Nady at the deadline, and could slot into left field in 2010 when Damon and Nady leave. At worst, he would give the Yankees the ability to walk away from Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, and Manny Ramirez if the cost got too high.

Finally, in regard to his attitude, the Yankees seem to be well equipped to deal with that sort of issue. They have some veteran leadership, as well as some “cooler” vets such as Burnett and Sabathia who may be able to connect with Dukes on a personal level. I think that his immense talent makes him worth the risk.

What do you think? Good idea, or does his history scare you off?

No Responses to “Elijah Dukes Revisited”

  1. I would love it but what would be do with gardner.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Nothing- Dukes would be on the bench for this season, with the Yankees rotating him into all 3 outfield positions and the DH spot. It might cut into Swisher’s AB’s, but it would give them incredible depth, and would really be a move for 2010.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Ace II Reply:

    y would he be on the bench when he has greater potential than gardner and melky. I figure we let him be the starter and continue developing.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    His defense in CF is weak. If they were really interested in offense, Swisher or Damon would be starting out there right now.  (Quote)

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  2. The guy is freaking nuts!!!!!

    He threatened to murder an ex-girlfriend and his kid, and texted said ex-girlfriend a picture of a gun….and this was on a good day.

    He tried to kill a former team mate by strangling him over a perceived and false slight.

    He has a history of violence that suggests he is a psychopath.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    True. Often a guy like that needs to find the right situation, and more importantly, the right teammates. This might be the place with the right mix for him.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    SonnyMooks Reply:

    What if he beats one of those team mates with a bat in some kind of disturbed rage (the nats hired a bodyguard to protect him/protect people from him). I use the bat reference, because…he has threatened to beat people with a bat in the past.

    I think what he needs is serious therapy and alot of drugs.

    He is a danger to himself and others. I really can see him attacking another team mate (again).

    This isn’t a disgruntled player, he is a legit nut.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Really? I do not remember any on-field incidents. Have any links? (im not chllallenging you, I just really dont remember).  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    SonnyMooks Reply:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah_Dukes

    It doesn;t have the baseball bat incident, but it does have some of the other off the field violent issues. (and links to them).  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Thanks.  (Quote)

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  3. He is not a good fit for the Yankees as they need a left handed bat with power for right field.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    I’m sorry, a player his age is a fit for any team from a baseball point of view. His handedness doesnt matter at all.  (Quote)

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    scott l Reply:

    I would tend to agree with you but in this case with Austin Jackson coming up as a right handed outfield bat the Yankees really need some left handed power for the outfield. Swisher is a better right handed hitter as well. Both Damon and Matsui could be gone after this year.

    I would rather trade 4 young players for say Ian Stewart or maybe 5-6 players for Joey Votto if he can play the outfield which is very likely considering they drafted Alonzo last year. I don’t know all the young left handed power hitters but another I would consider is Seth Smith of the Rockies.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Tex is a switch hitter, Cano is a lefty. You really only need one more lefty bat, and it does not need to be a masher.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    scott l Reply:

    I still disagree in so much that if the Yankees are going to go out and made a trade why not target a left handed bat?  (Quote)

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  4. Certainly true- if you had your druthers (yeah I just used druthers, wanna fight about it?) you would get a lefty. But when you see a high talent commodity undervalued so much that he is being placed after Austin Kearns, you forget handedness and you try to take advantage of the market inefficiency.  (Quote)

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  5. I’d be for it. Kennedy, Melky?  (Quote)

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  6. I love the the idea of bringing in Dukes. Patience (.386 OBA), power, just an overall great hitter at a young age, with a .382 wOBA last year in part time play. Good defense. He’s got it all. Just a sampling of his most comparable players (from Pecota):

    - Adam Dunn
    - Larry Walker
    - Dave Winfield
    - Matt Holliday
    - Paul O’Neill
    - Lance Berkman
    - Carlos Quentin
    - Fred McGriff
    - Cliff Floyd  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    I love the idea also, but his defense is only good at the corners. He’s like Swisher in CF, not great.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  7. He’s a talented kid, but not so talented that you take on his attitude. I’d do some serious homework on this guy before I’d be willing to get him. Why poison the clubhouse with his crap. Spend the extra cash and get Holliday if you really feel the need for a stick in that spot. He’s more reliable, more productive, and a better guy. I don’t think the Yankees need to settle for a thug when they have the cash to get a guy who can play who isn’t a complete creep  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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