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Some details on Dukes

OK we just had someone with knowledge of the situation explain how this went down. Indeed, Stan Kasten and Jim Bowden had an off-site meeting this morning at a hotel near the airport with Elijah Dukes. Also present, according to the source, was Dmitri Young, who has some personal knowledge of Dukes because his younger brother Delmon was with Dukes in Tampa - they rose through the system there, and were supposed to be the offensive players around which the Rays were supposed to be built.

In return, it appears the Nationals are yielding only a "player to be named later." That's what one official with knowledge of the talks told me. Tampa needs a roster spot (though former National Josh Wilson was just claimed off waivers). The buzz does not seem to be that the Nats will be giving up anything of significant value. This is a "take-a-troubled-player-off-the-hands-of-another-team" deal, it seems.

This morning's meeting was obviously to discuss character, struggles, etc. Get past that for one second, though, and listen to what Dan Jennings, the scout who originally signed Dukes with Tampa, just told Sheinin:

"I think it's probably a good move for the kids. He is extremely talented. He has every tool you'd want, with good up-side still there. I think it's good for him and his career to get out of the Tampa area."

Jim Bowden obviously has a history with reclamation projects (see his most recent: Young, Dmitri) and likes giving second chances. But I asked one official what they do now with four starting-caliber outfielders - Kearns, Pena, Milledge and Dukes. "You can't have too much," the guy said. "You always need more."

This will be very interesting to see how the Nationals frame this addition.

We do know that they have been keeping tabs on Dukes. Tim Tolman, the third base coach, is Dukes's coach in winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Dukes had no problems down there - until the other night, when he was ejected and got in the face of an umpire. Still, Tolman has been vouching for Dukes, and I have talked to three people today who saw him play down there and said he was just phenomenal.

Meeting with club officials is in 90 minutes. I'll get you as much as I can before and after.

By Barry Svrluga  |  December 3, 2007; 3:30 PM ET
 
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Comments

fyi, for those interested, ESPN's blog for the day on winter meetings (updated as the day goes along)...

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3132311&name=winter_meetings

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Honestly depending on who the Player to be named later is, i like the Dukes deal. I think D Young and company can help this man get his life turned around. Here in Washington we should know better than anyone not to judge a book by its cover. We just lost Sean Taylor who many tried to label as a troublemaker (though nothing compared to this) but in reality was a wonderful indivdual. Maybe Dukes just needs a second chance, it seems low risk high reward type of deal and i have no problem with that.

Posted by: Steveo | December 3, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

there's gonna be so many deals i don't think we can judge them each individually. once this team is set we'll have a much better idea what we traded and what we got.

i think gettin too worked up and thinking of cancelling your season tickets because you don't like the rumors is hilarious. even if it's true that guy could be here a week before being traded away, or he could turn out to be a nice fellow. not to run off on a tangent but sean taylor does come to mind. people's perceptions were changing of him also. sometimes people just need a chance to grow up and find their place.

all these stories about these guys' attitudes and some of their actions are plain horrible, i agree. but everyone has an agenda. i'll wait before i agree with someone i don't know about someone i don't know.

Posted by: longterm | December 3, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I certasinly hope it is true that we gave up nothing but a player to be named later in exchange for Dukes. I would not give as much as a broken bat for him. I believe in second chances, but if reports about him are true, I just don't see this guy on the Nationals team!

Posted by: gilsfan | December 3, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Check the Tampa Bay blog about this trade, it is almost the perfect reflection of the comments from Barry's previous post, most of the Rays fans are just glad to be rid of Dukes - and will take anyting - which looks like a inconsequential player to be named later

Posted by: SacredCod | December 3, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

http://blogs.tampabay.com/rays/

sorry, forgot the URL

Posted by: SacredCod | December 3, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

yup, the tampa blog says...

==
The Rays will get back a minor-leaguer but until he is notificed of the trade it may have to be listed as a player to be named later.
==

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

All for this deal if it's just the proverbial player to be named later. The guy could seriously put up 30-30 numbers and hit .300 if he ever got his act together. The problem with the four OF situation is that they are all right-handed so you can't really do starts based upon matchups. Maybe Dukes or Milledge (Dukes more likely) starts out at in the minors?

Posted by: Salty | December 3, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

excellent. if there is one farm system with room it's ours. this seems like a josh hamiltonesque move.

tell him straight up, you do it right starting now, or you're gone.

Posted by: longterm | December 3, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Trade Wily Mo Pena for help in other areas.

Posted by: Kevin M | December 3, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

So long as the Nats are not giving up more than a bag of used batting practice baseballs this is a good deal. I don't believe the Nats would trade a front line player like Cordero or Rauch for Dukes. If Tolman says Dukes is okay to play for the Nats that's good enough for me. Yes, he's a head case but that seems to be par for the course with professional athletes. I hope his ex-wife/girlfriend or whomever he threatened doesn't live in the DC area.

Posted by: Keith | December 3, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Nobody wants Wily Mo. That's why he's here in the first place.

Posted by: pondaz | December 3, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

So... a guy who threatened to kill his wife, who impregnated a 17 year old girl who was a foster child with family friends, who has been arrested six times.

And just a few days ago, got thrown out of another game?

That's a bit more than a project. That's a guy who is a known problem. And has known problems. Didn't we see the nightmares in clubhouse chemistry that a guy like Guillen caused here a few years ago?

Thanks, Jimbo. Nice of you to bring us baseball's best. Now leading the league in arrests, your Washington Nationals.

Posted by: DC Mike | December 3, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

his exGF lives in the tampa area, iirc.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

if indeed we only give up a PTBNL, then that calms me down VERY much, and i've got little complaint about this deal.

Posted by: MrMadison | December 3, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree you can never have too much - especially if you give up nothing for it. What are the odds that Pena, Milledge, and Dukes all work out?

Posted by: GoNats | December 3, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

substance abuse, domestic violence and chronic health problems, what are we thinking!?!

oh wait that was da meat hook last off season and now he is the comeback player of the year and a team leader.

have some faith in Manny, JimmyB and the rest of the nats braintrust, they know a thing or two

Posted by: love | December 3, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

maybe wily mo has huge year and we get compensation next year. just in time for our stud outfield combination of:

dukes/milledge/burgess. marrero at 1b. and, oh yea, zimmerman at 3b. flores at catcher. ladies and gentlemen, that is an offense with serious, serious, potential. the pipeline is being filled with W's.

and this is a team that is known for loading up on starting pitching at the draft last year!

Posted by: longterm | December 3, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I love what Bowden and Kasten keep doing to improve this team. We turned around our OF in almost 3 days - Keep it up fellas'!

Posted by: Matt | December 3, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Marrero at Potomac? That'd be a pretty meteoric rise to have him open next year in the starting lineup. Not impossible, especially given the nature of this team, but probably not likely.

Posted by: pondaz | December 3, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Brad Wilkerson's still out there. The Nats We Love need someone to tell the psychopaths Jimbow's signing to stand down. Wilkerson's the only one who would get in Guillen's face and restore peace. And with Dukes, we have an uber-Guillen, a Night of the Living Milton Bradley. The guy just went nuts at a Lisay game where the ump's relatives are in the stands with firearms. manny's going to have his hands full with the rap star.

Posted by: flynnie | December 3, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey at least they are doing there homeowrk on these guys before getting them, you have to take that as a positive. They arent just dealing for talent they know what they are getting and what they are giving is minimal, if it doesn't work then its not a huge loss most likely.

Posted by: NRCreager | December 3, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh all right. I've calmed down a bit. I'm not exactly happy, but I'm not going anywhere either. (reconsider my season tix? yea, right)

It's going to be interesting. I really, really, really hope he doesn't tip the balance of nice guys in the clubhouse.

I trust Manny's ability to tame beasts. He seems to believe in the best of people which draws out the best in people. Plus, we're classy fans and classy fans would give the guy a decent welcome.

I'm willing to hold my fire for now. C'mon aboard Elijah. Let's see what you got.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 3, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

yea he's at potomac. not sure if he starts there next year or not. if we lucky he'll be up for good mid-2009 at 1b. realistically you, right though. that is moving fast. but he doesn't have to be great his rookie year. he just needs to settle in and adjust. thats the nice thing about this team is expectations are different for a lot of these guys. they don't have to produce immediately.

but thats much less realistic about burgess, 2009 would be way too early. his team seems very up front with players who they want to build around. they give them every opportunity and i'd say a lot of them thrive in those situations. so many prospects wilt knowing they are blocked. and just as many come out of nowhere if given a chance.

Posted by: longterm | December 3, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

We'll have to see who the ptbnl is but so far it looks pretty solid. I'll be happy as long as whoever it is isnt on the 40 man roster. At least on paper this gives a potential shot in the arm to our... suspect offense last year.

I'm not sold on dukes' personality turning a 180 just because he leaves tampa, but who knows, stranger things have happened. Either way it looks like Bowden managed to take 2 struggling players (church and schneider) and an unnamed minor leaguer and turn them into two bona fide top notch talents.

I hate to lose schneider and church because i have watched them for years, but so far it looks like our value has shot through the roof. If this keeps up we could have a dangerous team in a couple of years (no pun intended).

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | December 3, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Did the "unnamed source" mention how much weight Dmitri Young had lost?

Posted by: Paul | December 3, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Well it's not like the cheap a$$ Lerners are going to let Bowden try for anyone else. Let's hope that we got Dukes on a Dmitri-like rebound and if he doesn't work out - see ya.

Posted by: Kev | December 3, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

We need to back off on the moralizing about Dukes. Some of the things he's done or been accused of doing are reprehensible. However, JimBo's building a baseball team here, not collecting people for our daughters to marry. I daresay that if we knew about all these guys personal lives, we'd cringe. More worrisome than the arrests, etc. are the two blow ups with his manager and his ejections. Those impact his ability to contribute on the field. Hopefully Manny and Da Hook can be helpful there. One thing this tells me is that Dmitri is not going to be packaged for a big hitter/pitcher. I thought that might happen.

If you're not comfortable with acquiring players like Dukes, and part of me is sympathetic with that train of thought, then stop being a fan now. JimBo is/was a wild child himself. He has a huge soft spot for these types of people, always has. Dukes is not the last one we'll see here.

The bottom line is that this organization top to bottom was bereft of offensive firepower. In two days, JimBo has acquired two potentially explosive hitters while giving up nothing that could be considered an irreplaceable piece. I'm guessing the PTBNL will be one of 17 middle relievers on the AAA roster. This was a good move.

Posted by: #4 | December 3, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The thing is... both Milledge and Dukes are young... and hopefully impressionable. Interestingly, for completely different reasons, the move to Washington for Dukes and Milledge may be perfect... the stage is just big enough for Dukes to get the attention he's craving, and small enough for Milledge to succeed without the withering pressure of New York. Plus... there's just enough uncertainty in those two that people still won't take the Nats seriously.

The left-handed bat thing is becoming an issue, though.

Here's the question I would like an answer to: What is the roster that Bowden is trying to assemble? I know I won't get an answer to that... but I'd love to know.

Posted by: Wigi | December 3, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

lol at the "cheap ass lerners" comment. as if anyone here has any idea what the payroll will look like in march. as to whether they're cheap or not, i'll hold judgment until we see what the 09 payroll is like and how the 08 season has played out in the new stadium. as long as the moves they're making make "baseball" sense (which they all seem to so far), lowering the payroll is just a bonus that adds flexibility for future moves. now if they *weaken* the team, particularly long-term, and lower payroll, then i'll complain.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I knew the Winter Meetings were gonna be interesting, but wotta way to start 'em off...

Posted by: Juan-John | December 3, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree with #4...

As for being cheap... just ask the big market, high-payroll teams how well spending without restraint is working for them. We're learning through experience that there is more than one way to assemble a world champion, and spending on payroll is just one of them... and certainly not the most reliable. There's no reason to spend more in payroll than you have to.

Posted by: Wigi | December 3, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

lol at the "cheap ass lerners" comment. as if anyone here has any idea what the payroll will look like in march.
Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 04:13 PM

I was basing that on what I've seen and heard, not what I'm predicting 231. Hope they prove otherwise, but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: Kev | December 3, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

No one is saying that the Nats should spend Yankee-like money. But if they trade Cordero, they might wind up with the lowest payroll in the league.

Folks, that would be cheap, cheap, cheap. No other way to describe it.

Posted by: swanni | December 3, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm getting very interested in what the next deal is going to be. Apparently Stan and Jim were not lying when they said there was still a lot of work to do. I'm excited for the rest of this winter.

Posted by: 9cherries.com | December 3, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

For that matter, having hte lowest payroll in the league does not necessarily mean they are being cheap.

Would you rather have Church, Schneider, and Cordero or Milledge, Dukes, and another high-level prospect?

This has nothing to do with salary. Adding talent is not "being cheap."

Why should they throw a ton of money at some garbage starting pitcher?? What will that accomplish?

Posted by: 9cherries.com | December 3, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

9cherries.com:
"For that matter, having hte lowest payroll in the league does not necessarily mean they are being cheap."

It would be Exhibit A in my case.

Posted by: swanni | December 3, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

*shrug*

basing your perception of the 08 payroll on what it is on 12/3/07 is relatively foolish. while there's a chance it may be accurate, there is a lot of wheeling and dealing in baseball to be done in the next month or two.

basing your perception on payroll regardless of talent isn't the best way to judge, either. the real judgment should be based on whether they were willing to make the right move and didn't make a wrong move purely to save money. i haven't seen any evidence of that yet. if you have, please point it out, because i'd like to know. not being facetious there, i really would.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Based on Manny's success with some difficult types in '07 (anyone remember Rob Fick's previous penchant for getting ejected?), if he and JimBow think this is the right move, then I'm willing to back their judgment until proven otherwise.

Posted by: Hendo | December 3, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

last comment should have read "basing your perception *of cheapness* on payroll regardless of talent"

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

As for being cheap... just ask the big market, high-payroll teams how well spending without restraint is working for them.

Posted by: Wigi | December 3, 2007 04:18 PM
2007 top payrolls...
#1 Yankees - 13 straight playoff appearances
#2 Red Sox - 2 WS in 4 years
#3 Mets - took a horrendous choke to waste that talent
#4 White Sox - 2005 WS Champs
#5 Angels - 4 of the last 6 playoffs, 02 WS

This is not the NFL, money talks

Posted by: Kev | December 3, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, but I just don't see the moves this team has made as "cost-saving" moves as much as moves to improve a team and organization that is/was bereft of talent when the current ownership took over.

As far as I know, Alfonso Soriano is the only significant player we have not retained based on a high salary, and without letting him leave, we would not have been able to have what many called the Best Draft in baseball.

How many people cried out when we gave Dmitri Young and Belliard extensions above market value? That doesn't sound to me like cheap. That sounds like valuing players that you have a plan for. With Milledge and now Dukes, Young will indeed be 'earning' all of that money.

There's not a single player outside of Soriano (that was on the team previously) that I miss on this team and think we would be better off at this point in time with.

The way baseball has evolved, the only impact ways to significantly improve your team are through the Draft, trades, and other generally low-cost moves. Players don't become free agents in their prime often anymore. That's just the way it is.

One can say the Lerners are being cheap, and yes, it is hard to argue with this point, but that is looking at only a small part of the puzzle. I personally would much rather root for a team trying to improve, rather than a team trying to pay players a lot of money (we already have one of those in the area, and we all know how that is working out)

Posted by: 9cherries.com | December 3, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Fine. They're cheap.

If they win, no one will give a damn.

Posted by: Hendo | December 3, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I am not too happy about having Dukes in a Nat's uniform. I hope they put him in the minors and leave him there for a year. If he can keep out of trouble (and not impregnate yet another girl) for a year, I might consider cheering for him if he takes the field for us. From all accounts, this guy is a class A jerk.

Posted by: Brewer | December 3, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The rumored Cordero for Weeks deal looks like it's not gonna happen:

http://blogs.jsonline.com/brewers/archive/2007/12/03/melvin-won-t-do-weeks-for-c-cordero.aspx

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | December 3, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

well said 9cherries.

it makes no sense to spend big money (and/or big price in prospects) for a big-time player if they aren't going to help you in your goal of reaching the playoffs. regularly. this team isn't likely to contend in 08, so why spend an extra 20+M in 08 to win a couple of more games and be at home in october? put that into the farm system and/or stadium experience and/or the bank for signing bonuses in the 08 hotstove, when adding an already big-time player (instead of just potential) could make a more significant impact.

so far, the moves don't come across as "being cheap" as they do "building the long-term talent pool." which is exactly what this team *should* be doing this year.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

#4 :

There's a big gap between typical baseball player stuff, and what Dukes has done. We all know that most baseball players have a rep for enjoying the company of ladies, not always behaving in the most respectful manner, etc. But there is a HUGE difference between that and what Dukes' past brings with it.

Do you not remember the type of stuff he said to his wife?

http://www.sptimes.com/2007/05/23/Tampabay/Ballplayer_s_wife__He.shtml

From the St. Pete Times:

**********
Here's what the voice on the machine says:

"Hey, dawg. It's on, dawg. You dead, dawg. I ain't even bulls-------. Your kids too, dawg. It don't even matter to me who is in the car with you. N-----, all I know is, n-----, when I see your m-----f------- a-- riding, dawg, it's on. As a matter of fact, I'm coming to your m-----f------ house."

She also says Dukes called her and told her to check her cell phone.

He sent a text message with a photo of a handgun, she said.

*****
I'm sorry, are you freaking kidding me? That doesn't even mention when he barged into her classroom (she's a teacher) threatening to kill her, and had to be forced off school property. Or the multiple domestic dispute calls to the police. Or the fact that he has five kids by four different women. Or that he told his wife that because he plays baseball, "No one can f*** with me."

Take off the rose colored glasses. This guy is a problem, and if he wasn't a baseball player, he'd be in jail for all that stuff. You are darn right I'm going to get moral on that. Like I said, great job, Jimbo.

Posted by: DC Mike | December 3, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

btw, kev, do you know why it pays off for those guys who have been paying top payrolls? because they had solid minor leagues beforehand... and quality players already on the teams. the yanks spent like crazy with no minor league quality in the 80s and won crap. it wasn't until they had home grown talent that they began to win and that "big spending" started to pay dividends. so let's get the infrastructure in place, and *THEN* if they don't spend money to augment it, there's room to call them "cheap."

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

All I can say is, the PTBNL better not be Justin Maxwell.

Posted by: Vincent | December 3, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

At least nobody can say that Bowden & Co aren't entertaining. Just when you thought the Nats off-season was going to be ho-hum, BOOM. Two big trades.

And these may just be the tremors that come before the mega-trade!

Nats are getting people talking now. Look for a major improvement on the team next year.

Posted by: Kamau | December 3, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Introducing YOUR Washington Bengals! First in war, first in peace, last in the NL East, but leading the league in time served and baby mommas!

Posted by: RL | December 3, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"At least nobody can say that Bowden & Co aren't entertaining."
___________________

Ain't that the truth.

Posted by: 9cherries.com | December 3, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

DCMike:

Then where's the outrage about Dmitri. Rather than threatening his girlfriend/wife, he actually strangled her - much worse in my opinion. Did you not cheer once when he hit a HR last year?

I want to be clear. I am not condoning any of this behavior. It's awful. If he doesn't clean it up, he won't ever be a productive big leaguer. However, I'm not going to get up in arms about them acquiring him either. I'm willing to give the guy a shot. Leaving the Tampa area is crucial in all this. Being in the environment in which he grew up has had to have retarded his development as a person.

Posted by: #4 | December 3, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I guess Nook Logan is history. I hope Langerhans rebounds this year, because right now he's the entire left-handed bench.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 3, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm not asking for angels, but for Pete's sake, our first two new guys are:

- young kid who sang "Bend ya knees"
- young kid with several restraining orders

Nice

Posted by: Section 134 | December 3, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I'll reserve comment on Dukes' personal life once he comes to DC and can prove he's either a) a model citizen or b) everything we've read/heard about him.

My question is in regards to this quote from BS:

"Still, Tolman has been vouching for Dukes, and I have talked to three people today who saw him play down there and said he was just phenomenal."

Dukes played in 18 games for Licey. Here were his stats:

55 AB, .236 avg, .408 obp, .436 slg, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 21 K

Besides the obp, what was so "phenomenal"?

Posted by: e | December 3, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

wouldn't PTBNL ultimately be decided by Duke's own production? ex: if he stays on the team full year Rays get A, if not, they get B.

Posted by: longterm | December 3, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Based on my long (too long)memory of major league baseball, it seems that more often than not, a trade of scenery helps players like Dukes. Dave Parker was the most reviled player in baseball when he was with the Pirates, but turned into a Dmitri-like character with the Reds. So really, who knows.

I want to know what is the potential of Dukes and Milledge. Are both 30-100 type guys? If so, then we have a good outfield.

And for how Dukes talked to his girlfriend, I lived in Tampa and worked in one of the schools there for a while. That's what I heard in the hallways.

My guess is we now have four outfielders, and the Nats will go north with the three best starters from spring.

Posted by: The Beltway Boy | December 3, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Again, a bunch of nancies on this blog. The era of the bubble-gum chewing, folksy, aw-shucks gritty ballplayer is dead. You win today with horses, with studs. Throw this cat out there 150 games and watch him mash. Keep his nose clean outide the lines and take a quantum leap forward and towards a championship.

I'm not looking for his autograph, I'm looking for a run producer and elite baseball talent. Let Zimmerman pose for pictures and kiss the babies.

Posted by: Jim Bowden | December 3, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Not every ballplayer not named Dukes is a moral exemplar. In any event, the leadership of this team, including the man (Manny) who has to guide him every day, has decided Dukes is worth an investment.

Is it right to assume something bad is bound to happen? If, God forbid, it should, is it right to (a) be waiting to pounce with an "I told you so" or (b) assume that justice won't be done and lessons won't have been learned?

We're free not to challenge our own assumptions, but honesty demands that if we give free rein to our prejudices, we at least admit we're doing so.

Let's not have this blog lead the league in recriminations, especially ahead of events that may never take place.

Posted by: Hendo | December 3, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet Elijah Dukes' car would have been safe in the RFK parking lot.

Posted by: Svrlugamania | December 3, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I honestly don't understand the fuss about Lastings and the "Bend Ya Knees" thing.

Yes, it's vulgar, and many many people do not appreciate it, but hip-hop is a valid art in the US, and last I checked we had freedom of speech.

Posted by: 9cherries.com | December 3, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

IF this works it will be a brillant move. Dukes will need to be a choirboy from now on and, in this respect, being only 23 years old doesn't bode well for him. It was a much more seasoned Dmitri Young who "cameback."

But if they keep him out of trouble until July (and if he hits to his potential) he will make an attractive bat for someone in a pennant race. The problem is going to be playing time - who sits down? and when? Can Willy Mo play first base? (not that that would resolve any problem, merely shift it)

If The Plan is to stockpile young talent - it is working pretty well so far.

Posted by: lowcountry | December 3, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Barry's supposed to be meeting with club officials right now, so I guess we'll all get the on-the-record skinny from JimBow et al fairly soon....

Posted by: Juan-John | December 3, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

From the ESPN transactions page:

Acquired outfielder Elijah Dukes from the Tampa Bay Rays for pitcher Glenn Gibson.

Posted by: NatsInNC | December 3, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I am pretty sure that Dukes is a better talent than Maxwell, but that would be taking a chance that would really blow the blogs into the stratosphere.

The Nats certainly aren't standing still, and I hope that having a lineup with more African American players than many rosters helps the team in DC.

The poster who said we need to treat Dukes well when he comes is right- if we want him to be a good citizen, and redeem himself, we can't start by treating him badly.

Posted by: Three more months | December 3, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

left hander...

http://thebaseballcube.com/players/G/Glenn-Gibson.shtml

20 yrs old, 86-91 fastball and a curve (from kevin kennedy on XM), Selected by Washington Nationals in 4th Round (121st overall) of 2006 amateur entry draft.

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the next trade should be Screech for Betty Ford!

Posted by: Natastic! | December 3, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I will not know how I feel regarding this trade until I have seen Dukes perform on and off the field. I'm willing to go Johnny Locke style on this: tabula rosa.

I hope that this blog does not become a negative dumping ground, because we really have a great dynamic most of the time.

I love, for instance, that swanni has come back (hopefully from just lurking?), because he always asks questions or points things out that me, in my perpetually optimistic and Nats-obsessed state, would not think to ask. I think that it shows that he is a true fan.

But putting down a kid who has probably been put down his whole life? Before he even gets to remake himself? That's not who we are. We're Nats fans. We're way better than that. Let's give the guy a chance. If he grew up in an environment like the one I teach in (College Park, GA, just south of Atlanta) then he just has not had the person in his life to set him straight about all of this. Does it excuse him from his crimes? No. But it does give us perspective.

Let's all move on from the (at this point) useless bickering over his criminal record. I want to see what else we have up our sleeve. I also want to see what he does on the field. After all that, we can bash whomever.

And now I'm done with the soapbox. Anybody else?

Posted by: NattyDelite! | December 3, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I sure hoped to hear the press conference on Sports 980, but they want to still talk about the Gibbs call at the end of yesterday's old news Skins game.

If even aquiring Dukes can't shake them into a discussion, I guess we are doomed around here until the team is a winner.

Posted by: Three more months | December 3, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

well said, NattyDelite!

Posted by: e | December 3, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Last month BA ranked Gibson as the Nats' #8 prospect -- one slot ahead of Maxwell.

I'm not against Dukes coming to the Nats, but I have to say as someone who follows the Rays and Dukes a bit (as a Durham Bulls fan), that the Rays came away better than I would have expected....

Posted by: NatsInNC | December 3, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Dukes for Glenn Gibson? So much for our VT pitchers being untouchable...

It's tough to complain about getting a MLB ready players by giving up a guy who hasn't pitched above short season, but I'm VERY surprised by this. I don't think we should ever give up pitching prospects for anything other than other pitch (and starters for starters too!).

I really thought it was going to be an older position player from AAA/AA like Josh Whitsell.

How about we package Kearns, Cordero and Rivera or Ayala in exchange for a top middle infielder. Anyone think the Reds would give up Brandon Phillips to get Kearns back plus two more pitchers?

Posted by: estuartj | December 3, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Yea. Some of the nasty blogs from the Mets about Schneider and Church stung a little so I decided I wasn't going to do the same thing for guys coming here.

So what's next? This is great stuff.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 3, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

What's next? How about predicting the date and time this week when Barry finds out that Cordero's been traded?

At this point I'll go with Tuesday at noon.

Posted by: Juan-John | December 3, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

BTW I was kidding about trading for Brandon Phillips, and besides we could probably get away with trading them Guzman, Ayala and Wagner considering our last transaction with them...

Posted by: estuartj | December 3, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Gibson is too terrible of a loss, wasn't one of our top flight prospects although he was getting better.

Could the Dukes trade open up a scenario where Kearns is in a big trade for a frontline pitcher?

Posted by: G-town | December 3, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I meant isn't too terrible.

Posted by: G-town | December 3, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

it will have to be a lot more than kearns to get a "frontline pitcher."

Posted by: 231 (other 506) | December 3, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

It's official:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20071203&content_id=2316153&vkey=pr_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Posted by: Juan-John | December 3, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

STOP TALKING ABOUT TRADING KEARNS!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 3, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Two thoughts...

I like the Dukes trade because it brings more youthful athleticism into the organization. Under Manny's no-nonsense approach to professionalism and with Da Meat Hook as a mentor I'm willing to give the kid a chance.

But, Dukes is another righthanded hitter. Either he was acquired to be sent elsewhere as part of a package for either a lefthanded bat or a frontline starter or maybe JimBow is working on a Kearns deal to get that southpaw stick.

Posted by: leetee1955 | December 3, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

There IS a big picture. Winning is secondary.
_________
But putting down a kid who has probably been put down his whole life? Before he even gets to remake himself? That's not who we are. We're [NOW OFFICIALLY PORTLAND TRAILBLAZER] fans. We're way better than that. Let's give the guy a chance....
Posted by: NattyDelite! | December 3, 2007 05:19 PM
*****
Again, a bunch of nancies on this blog. The era of the bubble-gum chewing, folksy, aw-shucks gritty ballplayer is dead. You win today with horses, with studs. Throw this cat out there 150 games and watch him mash. Keep his nose clean outide the lines and take a quantum leap forward and towards a championship.
I'm not looking for his autograph, I'm looking for a run producer and elite baseball talent. Let Zimmerman pose for pictures and kiss the babies.
Posted by: Jim Bowden | December 3, 2007 05:06 PM

Posted by: Cevans, seriously | December 3, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

But the Nats' #8 prospect was traded for a player who arguably would rate as the organization's #1 prospect. By a mile.

Also, despite the great improvement of the farm system, that #8 for us is another squad's #15 or #20. It's a calculated risk to gain an elite talent for a prospect who had more poise than overpowering stuff. You make that trade every day.

Posted by: Wes Mantooth | December 3, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

From CBS Sportsline
http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/story/10510432

"The Tampa Bay Rays traded another troubled outfielder Monday, sending Elijah Dukes to the Washington Nationals for minor league pitcher Glenn Gibson...Gibson, a 20-year-old left-hander, went 4-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 12 starts for Class-A Vermont this season."

Gibson must've been one of the studs on the Vermont team that posted the monstrous numbers

Posted by: CN | December 3, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | December 3, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Folks: Let's keep in mind where we were (in 2005), and where we want to go ('08 & beyond). In '05, we got a shell of a MLB franchise, after 33 years without one. Over the last two years, we've gained a REAL owner, GM & Scouting system for the franchise, and a new ballpark coming this spring to boot!
All the grousing & kvetching probably means we care as fans, but don't lose sight of the fact that this was less than an expansion team when we got them. It's still about acquiring pieces at this point.
That said, Dukes is a valuable pickup w/o a lot of cost; I only wih he hit from the left side of the plate.

Posted by: statsnut | December 3, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I hope he restricts his hitting to when he's at the plate.
**********
I only wish he hit from the left side of the plate.
Posted by: statsnut | December 3, 2007 06:03 PM

Posted by: CE | December 3, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

The price for Dukes is cheap. If Gibson excels, he will make the majors in 2011/2012 as a starter. Someone already mentioned that our #8 prospect would not make other teams list. Agreed. Wasn't Kory Casto and Larry Broadway near the top of our list last year. Yikes !!

My favorite part of this deal is bringing in Dimitri Young to meet with him prior to completing the deal. That says something about the tone being set.

BTW I watched the video of him arguing and being thrown out in Licey last week. It appeared to be an insignificant event. The ump made a bad call, the kid told him so. It's not like he went all Delmon on him.

Dukes has significant issues. He has done some bad things. He comes from a messed up home environment. He was a high school star at 14. (Yeah 14). Too much, too soon. Bad role models. Bad neighborhoods. Bad friends. Etc... He broke into the majors in one of the most talented and yet troubled cities for baseball in the world. Doc Gooden, Strawberry, Josh Hamilton, Delmon Young, BJ Upton. Which one of these role models/friends was he supposed to model his behavior after? Hopefully, he will respond to some better guidance in DC.

Posted by: NatBisquit | December 3, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I beg your pardon...

Posted by: Nancy | December 3, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, seeing as how you asked, Natty Delite, I've also enjoyed the dynamic of this blog overall. It doesn't bother me to see people reacting either positively or negatively to a trade, because we're each entitled to our own opinion, right?
I do have misgivings about the Dukes trade, as others do, but to label those of us who do as nancies or prejudiced, or not true fans, or [insert other label of choice here] is not constructive, IMO.

I will admit that I *am* prejudiced against domestic abusers -- of any color (see, for example, Brett Myers of the Phillies). I'm also old-fashioned, I suppose, in thinking that professional athletes should be role models for young people. I hope that Dukes will be able to turn things around. I also hope that he will subject to a zero-tolerance policy, as Dmitri was, and held accountable rather than being given a free pass off the field because of his perceived value on the field.

---

I hope that this blog does not become a negative dumping ground, because we really have a great dynamic most of the time.

I love, for instance, that swanni has come back (hopefully from just lurking?), because he always asks questions or points things out that me, in my perpetually optimistic and Nats-obsessed state, would not think to ask. I think that it shows that he is a true fan.

But putting down a kid who has probably been put down his whole life? Before he even gets to remake himself? That's not who we are. We're Nats fans. We're way better than that. Let's give the guy a chance. If he grew up in an environment like the one I teach in (College Park, GA, just south of Atlanta) then he just has not had the person in his life to set him straight about all of this. Does it excuse him from his crimes? No. But it does give us perspective.

Let's all move on from the (at this point) useless bickering over his criminal record. I want to see what else we have up our sleeve. I also want to see what he does on the field. After all that, we can bash whomever.

And now I'm done with the soapbox. Anybody else?

Posted by: natsfan1a | December 3, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

"Or the fact that he has five kids by four different women."

Damn, is that all? Travis Henry has NINE kids by NINE different women. This guy is a rank amateur.

Seriously, though. This town turned a thug like Sean Taylor into a saint just because he took a bullet. Give this MF a chance, already.

Posted by: b.rube | December 3, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

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