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Elijah Dukes to Nationals?


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I don't think Millege and Dukes should be mentioned in the same breath when it comes to their off-the-field issues. Has Millege done anything worse than just being a bit of a hot dog? Dukes is another story altogether.

That said, I'm impressed with Manny Acta, and he might be able to handle a guy like Dukes.

I wouldn't say Milledge has done anything to put him in Dukes' league as a hard core thug, but there was the statutory rape charge that allegedly involved two 12 year olds when he was 17 (IIRC he ended up pleading guilty to the statutory rape of his girlfriend at the time who was 14 or 15 but one of the New York papers did an investigation that revealed the full extent of what he could have been charged with if the case had gone further). That's certainly pretty unsavory. And while not on that level, punching a teammate in the clubhouse over a poker game (which was widely reported in 2006 on WFAN and repeated by acquaintances of mine who work in the NY media) isn't exactly desirable behavior either.

FWIW I'm impressed with Manny Acta too and I liked the idea of bringing in Milledge and hoping that Dmitri Young and others can mentor him. What I really don't like is adding Dukes to that mix. Young has only been clean for a short time and no matter how well he looks to be doing he could still be vulnerable to the wrong influences. I'm all for giving guys second chances when they show a desire to make a change (Milledge seems to have shown a little of that desire off and on and did appear to get along better, although not great, with teammates in '07), but you can't do that for a bunch of guys all at once, particularly when one is as seriously troubled as Dukes is. If they were going to take on the massive undertaking that is the Elijah Dukes reclamation project, they probably shouldn't have gone out and gotten Milledge too. I'm not sure Dmitri Young should be exposed to Dukes even without Milledge in the mix.

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You could say that Bowden is becoming a Moneyball devotee. He's found an inefficiency in the market (or what he thinks is an inefficiency) and is exploiting it. Players with behavioral/attitude/legal problems are valued much lower than their abilities or performance would be in a vacuum.

Sure, it might blow up in his face. But so might drafting unathletic college kids, or letting your free agents walk and picking up draft picks, or signing players for their OBP at the expense of other metrics. It's all a calculated risk designed to deal with limited resources.

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Why don't we get young cheap guys with upside like this?

Jeebus....so Milledge and Dukes aren't Nobel Peace Prize winners: if they are cheap and don't cost much to acquire, isn't it worth the risk?

I think you can easily make a case to pass on a guy with Elijah Dukes' track record, but unless there is some incriminating situation the public doesn't know about, the Orioles made a mistake in telling the Mets they weren't interested in Lastings Milledge (If in fact that's what happened, I only know what Minaya said)

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Meet the player to be named later...

Glenn Gibson

Baseball America:

Background: The son of former major league lefthander Paul Gibson, Glenn showed off his superior feel for pitching at short-season Vermont. He might have been the New-York Penn League's best pitcher until his final two starts, when he tried to pitch while sick and saw his ERA balloon from 1.74 to 3.10. It was later discovered he had mononucleosis, causing him to drop about 20 pounds and reversing his solid progress in the weight room.

Strengths: Gibson's savvy makes his stuff play up. He pores over hitting and pitching charts before every start so he can exploit weaknesses, and he mixes speeds and locations very well. He can throw his plus changeup in any count for strikes, his slow downer curveball can be above-average at times and his fastball can touch 91 mph and has late movement.

Weaknesses: Gibson's fastball sits in the high 80s and isn't overpowering, which limits his upside and margin for error. He still needs to add strength to his frame, particularly his lower half, to improve his durability and velocity.

The Future: Gibson is ready for a full-season league and should begin 2008 in low Class A. He looks like a safe bet to reach the big leagues as a back-of-the-rotation starter.

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If you want to build a team with guys like Elijah Dukes, that's fine. I don't mind a reclamation project.

But Dukes is an off-the-charts project. The incident last week is nothing new and that kind of stuff is really embarrassing to an organization, an owner, etc.

Winning cures a lot of ills, but I'm not sure I would want to TRY to win with someone like Dukes. Frankly, what's the purpose of sitting down with Dmitri Young and "getting Dukes into a new organization" given the incident last week when he was out of the country?

BTW, Milledge slipped in the draft due to an off-the-field incident as I recall. I don't think he's had too many other issues since.

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You have to look at the potential of Milledge and Dukes....and that potential is two middle of the order bats for the next 7-10 years. And for this they give up a very mediocre 30 yr old catcher, a below average outfielder, and a pitcher who projects, at best, as a #5 starter 5 years from now.

Bowden is taking a chance, but damn!....I think it's brilliant.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Apparently Mr. Dukes has not yet learned to stop texting ex-girlfriends...

December 17, 2007

Another injunction sought against ex-Rays' Dukes

TAMPA -- Another woman has asked a judge to protect her from ex-Rays player Elijah Dukes, saying he sent her threatening text messages.

Amanda E. Reese, 23, was granted a temporary injunction for protection against domestic violence on Dec. 10. She is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning to seek extended protection.

"At this point, I fear for me and my child's life, due to his past history with his estranged wife," Reese wrote in her petition to the court.

In court filings, Reese said she and Dukes had briefly dated. She said they met in August and split in October.

Reese says Dukes sent her a text message on Oct. 23 that stated she would "have to deal with the consequences" and "don't let me see you when I come home" and "it's a promise, now make your move."

On Nov. 24, according to Reese, Dukes came to her home to discuss an incident that took place in his home prior to their split. After that visit, she said, he has been calling her home at inappropriate times.

"It's on," Dukes said during a 5 a.m. phone call, according to Reese.

Dukes was dropped from the Rays roster in June, spent the fall playing baseball in the Dominican Republic and earlier this month was traded to the Washington Nationals. He's still dealing with a messy divorce in Hillsborough with his wife, NiShea Gilbert. She, too, has sought violence injunctions against Dukes.


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