The obligatory Elijah Dukes post

Open Thread: Joba states his case
Competition or not, Joba and Hughes a bright spot this week

As you’ve probably heard by now, the Nationals unexpected released Elijah Dukes yesterday morning, apparently after weeks of trying to off-load him in a trade. GM Mike Rizzo maintains that the move was strictly baseball related, however he also noted that shedding Dukes and his off-the-field issues will certainly benefit the team. “The clubhouse will be more united,” Rizzo said. “We’ll have a better feel around the ballclub. We’ll gain just by that alone.”

Clearly, Rizzo feels that having Dukes around had a negative impact on the team. It’s no secret that he’s a troubled person with a scary background that includes at least three arrests for battery, one for assault, and of course the infamous “You dead, dawg” incident. The Nationals went to great lengths to keep him in check after acquiring him from Tampa prior to the 2008 season, including hiring an ex-cop to the made up position of “Special Assistant: Player Concerns” to keep Dukes out of trouble by accompanying him wherever he went.

So after all that, why would I want the Yankees to sign him?

Right now, the Yanks have as good of a “clubhouse culture” as they’ve had in years, and while I can understand not wanting to poison that with a person like Dukes, I think this is exactly the kind of support system that could help him thrive. Joe Girardi and Jorge Posada provide the tough love, A.J. Burnett and Nick Swisher would allow him to loosen up and be himself, and even guys like Alex Rodriguez and Joba Chamberlain, who’ve had their fair share of off-the-field troubles, can help him relate. I hate to bring race into it, but CC Sabathia and Curtis Granderson are two African American guys widely considered to be class acts and great people, and I can’t help but think they would be a positive influence on Dukes.

Of course, that’s just me speculating. I know nothing about Dukes and his personality other than what we assume based on his troubles, and who knows how receptive the team would be to having someone like that round for six-plus months of the year. Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden came aboard in the mid-90’s after their off-the-field problems, and while that was a different situation because they both had strong track records in the big leagues and problems that were self-destructive, they were welcomed because they could help them on the field. More recently, A-Rod and Jason Giambi went through the ringer and came out better for it.

Of course, none of this would be worth it if Dukes was unable to contribute something on the field better than what the Yankees already have in-house. He’s a freak athlete that was a legit prospect at linebacker with NFL potential before deciding to try his hand at baseball out of high school, and that athleticism affords him tremendous bat speed and power potential. That power is evident in Duke’s .180 IsoP in 970 big league plate appearances, which is on par with what notable mashers like Carlos Lee and Shin-Shoo Choo put up last year. He also has a selectively aggressive approach, meaning he’s more than happy to work the count, but will jump all over something early in the count if he likes it. All of his offensive prowess was on display in 2008, when he put up a .382 wOBA and accumulated 2.8 WAR in just 81 games.

On the defensive side of the ball, Dukes is capable of manning all three outfield spots, though he doesn’t have an much range as you’d expect from someone with his kind of athleticism. His arm is strong, but it’s clear the majority of his value lies in his bat. Leg injuries have been a problem in recent years, as Dukes has missed a total of 108 days in the past two years with hamstring issues in both legs. Hopefully that’s something that can be ironed out, or at least controlled, with a better conditioning program.

CHONE projects a .358 wOBA for Dukes in 2010, which is better than anything projected for Brett Gardner or Randy Winn. His projected 2.1 WAR is identical to Gardner’s, though he’s going to do it with his bat and Gardner will do it with his glove. If nothing else, he’s a massive upgrade over Marcus Thames and/or Jamie Hoffmann as the fifth outfielder. With just two years of service time, Dukes was slated to make $440,000 before the Nationals cut him, and that’s about what it’ll take to sign him. He also has minor league options remaining, which always come in handy. And, on top of all this, it would be an extremely easy to move to back out of. If Dukes acts up at all, they can cut him and lose nothing but a few hundred grand.

The Yankees are not above giving second chances, and given the personnel in the clubhouse right now,  I think this would be the time to try to cash in on Dukes’ talent. The Nationals are in a different place than the Yanks right now, which is why they parted ways with him. They’re trying to change an entire culture of losing that’s deeply entrenched within the franchise, and they felt getting rid of Dukes and his off the field issues were part of the process of changing that losing culture. His past is ugly, absolutely, but there’s nothing that can be done about it now. If he’s willing to put the work in, he could certainly help the Yankees. And the Yankees could certainly help him.

Photo Credit: Gregory Smith, AP

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Open Thread: Joba states his case
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  • jim p

    His past is ugly, absolutely, but there’s nothing that can be done about it now.

    Well, if there isn’t anything to be done about it now, his future’s likely ugly too. What’s he done to change it around? Apparently nothing much before today.

    We can win without ugly. Why bother?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Because we can also win more easily WITH ugly, and because there is a good reason to think that his ugliness is behind him.

      He’s 25 now. He wasn’t 25 then. People mature. I think I’m a very cool, calm, levelheaded person who is a responsible member of society now, but when I was 19-22, I was a criminal. Literally, I committed crimes.

      • Chris V.

        We don’t believe you, you need more people.

        • YankeeScribe

          /Jay-Z’d

      • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Dude, I hear where you’re coming from on this… But there really isn’t “good reason to think that his ugliness is behind him.” It may very well be, but we don’t have any particular information that would lead us to that conclusion. And… If we really want to look for reasons to think the ugliness might either be behind him or not, wouldn’t his release by the Nats and statements like the ones quoted below lead us to believe that he’s still got some sort of problems?

        “The clubhouse will be more united. We’ll have a better feel around the ballclub. We’ll gain just by that alone.”

        I’m not saying he hasn’t put some of his problems in his past, but at the same time, we have no idea that he has.

        • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Oh and the guy’s also not out of options, and they still released him instead of optioning him down to AAA. That doesn’t bode too well either, right? Seems like they not only just weren’t so crazy about him, but probably didn’t want him anywhere near their younger, developing prospects, either.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            Probably just didn’t want him sulking in AAA, complaining about why he’s there while Willie Harris and Justin Maxwell (whom he’s better than) are with the big club in front of him.

            • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Sure… Or maybe they think he’s a headcase and they don’t want him around their prospects. I just don’t get why you think it’s definitely one way and not the other.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                I just don’t get why you think it’s definitely one way and not the other.

                Because the Nats FO seems to have taken great pains, both before and after Dukes’s release, to talk about how good of a person he was and how he wasn’t a clubhouse malcontent. They didn’t have to vouch for his character, either before or after, but they did.

                I think that means something.

                • Ted Nelson

                  THCM,

                  Teams have been wrong before. What’s the Nats’ track record with actually being right… ever? I wouldn’t be too worried about what the Washington Nationals organization thinks; although, clearly this is another in a long line of red flags. I’d look to sign him to a minor league deal and get him into camp ASAP to get a look at him if I were Brian Cashman and thought he was worth the gamble.

                  I think he might be worth a look, personally. Yankees are the team where he can get it together if there is any team. Yankees don’t have anything invested in him and he’s not exactly the future of the franchise, so they just let him sink of swim on his own and not hire a cop to babysit. He’ll probably sink, but who knows…

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          wouldn’t his release by the Nats and statements like the ones quoted below lead us to believe that he’s still got some sort of problems?

          There’s also these quotes:

          Manager Jim Riggleman, general manager Mike Rizzo and team president Stan Kasten all emphasized that the move was based on Dukes’ performance and was not connected to any off-the-field issues. Rizzo, though, did say he thinks Dukes’ departure improves the team’s makeup.

          “Elijah was great,” Riggleman said. “He’s done his work. He’s got no issues. It’s just a baseball decision.”

          Asked if any off-the-field incident could have precipitated his release, Dukes said: “Nothing happened. If something had happened, I’d know about it.”

          Indeed, while with Washington, Dukes appeared to have put his troubled past behind him. He had suspensions in the majors and the minors for various confrontations with umpires, coaches and teammates while in Tampa Bay’s organization; arrests for assault and for marijuana possession; and paternity suits.

          “He never got any of the bad headlines everybody feared when he came here, and I think he deserves credit for that,” Kasten said in a telephone interview. “If anyone says there was an incident, that person has no idea what he’s talking about.”

          Dukes’ Florida-based lawyer, Grady Irvin Jr., wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press: “Mr. Dukes has had absolutely no new off-the-field legal issues whatsoever. Despite the recent loss of his father, the past year has demonstrated that Mr. Dukes has continued his growth as a professional athlete, as a parent, and as a person.”

          Added Dukes: “All I’ve been doing is my job.”

          http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/.....id=5002750

          The Nats didn’t release him because he was a pain in the ass or a clubhouse cancer or a malcontent. They released him because their starting OF is going to be Willingham-Morgan-Harris, they saw Dukes as a backup, they already have plenty of other capable backup outfielders (Maxwell, Bernardina, Taveras, Duncan, etc.) so, rather than pay him 415k to be a 4th outfielder (on a non-title contending team), they tried to trade him, couldn’t find any takers, and paid him 41k, sent him packing, and used the rest of their depth.

          Doesn’t mean he’d be a bad apple here. Different team, different role, different situation, different expectations, different teammates.

          • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Again… You’re taking one set of what I’d consider to be less than glowing reviews as gospel, and I’m just not sure why. I’m not saying Dukes is definitely a crazy person who would be a malcontent on any baseball team, but there’s not enough here for anyone to be making these declarations that he’s definitely not one, and that’s what you seem to be doing in this thread.

            And yeah, I see how those quotes (before the last two paragraphs which I consider irrelevant since they come from Dukes himself and his lawyer) could be construed as positive… But at the same time, what Rizzo said wasn’t so wonderful, and what Kasten said was basically “he didn’t get arrested or get any bad headlines while he was here.” Again… I’m not calling that evidence that the guy’s a crazy person, but it’s certainly not a ringing endorsement either. I just don’t understand how anyone could be so sure he’s past his problems with the information we have available to us.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              jim p says:
              Why bother?

              tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size says:
              … because there is a good reason to think that his ugliness is behind him.

              Is saying “there’s good reason to think” he’s matured the same thing as “making these declarations that he’s definitely not a crazy person who would be a malcontent on any baseball team”?

              I don’t think so. I think you’re strawmaning my position here a bit. Here’s what I’ve said:

              A.) Elijah Dukes is older now. Older people tend to be more mature. Who you are at 21 is often not who you are at 25. His older age alone is a big reason to believe he may have matured and mellowed and put his negative past behind him.
              B.) Environment plays a big part in behavior. Players on perpetually losing teams tend to complain more and pout more and bitch more than they do when they leave that losing, negative situation and enter a winning, positive situation. It’s a phenomenon we’ve seen over and over again.
              C.) There is actual TANGIBLE EVIDENCE of his maturity on display from his Washington tenure. When he got there, he expressed remorse and apology for his prior immaturity, gratitude to the Nats for giving him a second chance, and vowed to be a model citizen and good soldier. His Nats employers and teammates have said on numerous occasions that he was, in fact, a good citizen and teammate.

              Now, let me expound on that initial arguments:

              D.) His release from the Nats does not mean that the reports of his newfound maturity were false; the team maintains it was a non-conduct related release. It’s possible they’re lying/spinning, sure; even if they are, though, a conduct related release from the Nats also doesn’t mean that and conduct issues they had with him would happen here. It’s a different situation, different role, and a fresh start.

              You’re making it seem like I’m saying Dukes is 100% reformed. All I’m saying is, there’s reason to believe he’s 100% reformed. He may not be, but it’s also false to claim that he’s 100% still a headcase. There’s evidence both ways.

              • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                You may not have meant it to come off the way it did, but you did, in fact, imply that Dukes is 100% reformed.

                Me: “I just don’t get why you think it’s definitely one way and not the other.”

                You: “Because the Nats FO seems to have taken great pains, both before and after Dukes’s release, to talk about how good of a person he was and how he wasn’t a clubhouse malcontent. They didn’t have to vouch for his character, either before or after, but they did.”

                That exchange means you think he’s “definitely one way”: reformed.

                (and later in the thread)

                Me: “Again, I’m not sure how we’re reaching this conclusion that Dukes is over his problems…”

                You: “Because several baseball people have said over the past few years that Dukes is over his problems.”

                That exchange means you’ve reached the conclusion that Dukes is over his problems.

                I didn’t strawman anyone. You may not have meant those things, but I certainly didn’t strawman you or put words in your mouth.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                  In my defense, you’re asking slightly leading questions. I wasn’t nearly that “definitive” in my initial statement; your followup questions asked more definitive “yes/no” questions and I answered them rapidly rather than parsing them out more carefully.

                  The first person to say “definitive” or “conclusive” was you. I should have framed my responses to you with “I didn’t say definitive or conclusive, but here’s why there’s reason to feel the way I feel”.

                  My bad.

                • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Like I said below… I know what you meant, you know what I meant. Just defending myself re the strawman stuff up here, this stuff is really besides the point anyway.

                  It’s done

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                  Fine… tubby.

                • Rose

                  Hey, can I get a little credit here for the “It’s Done” routine?? Maybe just a little cash man…I just need some cashhhh

                  [alternates rubbing his hands together and wiping his nose]

                • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Haha totally. I didn’t give you the h/t because I wanted to use it as a joke without making fun of anyone, but if you’re cool with laughing about it, the credit’s obviously all yours.

                  It’s done.

                  /Rose’d

          • Ed

            rather than pay him 415k to be a 4th outfielder (on a non-title contending team), they tried to trade him, couldn’t find any takers, and paid him 41k, sent him packing, and used the rest of their depth.

            That doesn’t make sense. The minimum is $400k, so at worst they’d be overpaying their 4th outfielder by $15k. Most pre-arb contracts are split salaries – $400k-ish for time spent on the MLB roster, and below $100k for time spent in the minors. He costs almost nothing to keep.

            • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Ed, you… Are sexy. Like a platter of lasagna.

      • Bo

        mature and dukes cant possibly be in the same conversation

      • LarryM, FL.

        People don’t change ask any Phd. Personality is set long before he celebrated his 25 th B-day. Stay away from Mr. Dukes and give any of the 40 man roster players a shot at helping the club. This was his second team. He can’t bring that much more to the table then presently on the roster. If I had a choice of a WAR of 2+. I’d take the 2+ on the defensive as opposed to the offensive. Pitching and defensive win championships.

        Tommie if you committed crimes at your young age and didn’t get caught with an arrest record. You owe the man upstairs a big thank you

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

    Nice, I just put up a really similar post.

    The sticking point: The reward of the opportunity to sign a possible 130+ OPS+ guy for $440,000 with options is much greater than his risk.

    Hoffmann and Thames are very, very expendable. I’m betting a veteran clubhouse, winning, and knowing this is possibly his last chance would give him a sunnier disposition.

    Be wary of his trouble against the curveball, though.

    • YankFanDave

      Spot on.

    • Bo

      why take the chance in a veteran clubhouse of this disruption?

      its not like his talent is worth it as his numbers have shown.

      why mess with it?

      • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

        Well if the Yankees sign Dukes and he’s a total ass and is so disruptive that the team can’t possibly win with him anywhere near the clubhouse I imagine they would just release him.

      • Ted Nelson

        “its not like his talent is worth it as his numbers have shown.”

        In 2008 he had an OBP+ of 127 in 1/2 a season of action. He had a bad season last year, but at 25 there’s no reason he can’t bounce back. He would be the team’s 5th OF or even start out in the minors. I would say his numbers show he clearly IS worth it.

  • AMSkollar

    What about Derek Jeter as an African-American?

    • AMSkollar

      All kidding aside, I agree 100% with you. This would be very very interesting. He also hit pretty well in NY when he was with the Devil Rays (yes I meant to say that)

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        CC, Granderson, Jeter, Winn, and Golson. Also, Marcus Thames in our camp fighting for a job.

    • Rose

      Did you know that Dave Mathews is the only African American in his band…and he’s white? The rest of the band, who are black, are not from Africa what-so-ever.

      The More You Know

  • Harry G

    I definitely hope the Yanks sign him just so we can get the inevitable outcries from Madden n’ Lupica bit**ing and whining about how “The Yankees are going against everything they supposedly stand for and what they want us to beleive that they beleive in” and “this move goes against the Yankee Way”…..

    Do it, Cashmonilla.

    These guys need stuff to write about…

    • DCBX

      What, they don’t remember the Copacabana incident? Billy Martin & Ryne Duren and those guys were NOT saints.

      From a strictly business perspective, I don’t like the risk of bringing a 25 yo with violence and anger issues to play in NY with all the pressure and media BS. 2.8 WAR is tempting and all, but it seems like bad business if the Yanks can win without making this move.

      • LarryM, FL.

        Dukes was bullying his wife and mother of his child as reported in the florida papers.

  • RKelly39

    Dude, yes. Roll the dice on Dukes.

  • Joe D.

    As a faithful Elijah Dukes owner in various leagues, I’d rather he land on a team that would immediately provide him with full-time ABs.

    As a Yankee fan, I want Cashman to jump all over this immediately.

    • Bo

      im taking a guess that ur teams are all near the bottom if u have dukes playing a prominent role on them

      but thanks

      • Joe D.

        Or I don’t play in 8-team sissy leagues.

        Didn’t mention anything about a prominent role, either.

        but thanks.

  • MikeD

    No.

  • JackISBACK

    I’d say No as well.

    He’s TO without the production. He was a very good prospect but the Rays got rid of him on the cheap, and the Nats cut him. I don’t think the “The others will keep him in line” routine works out a lot. If the Nats hired some guy to follow him around, and he still didn’t work out, what are Curtis Granderson or AJ Burnett going to do? I’d much rather they spend their time hitting lefties or throwing changeups than trying to make Dukes welcome in the clubhouse or keeping his head in line.

    • mike c

      to be fair, nobody respects the gnats

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      I don’t think the “The others will keep him in line” routine works out a lot. If the Nats hired some guy to follow him around, and he still didn’t work out,

      The Nats said over and over again that he didn’t work out not for “he was out of line” reasons, but for baseball reasons. They’re rolling with a starting OF of Willingham-Morgan-Harris, didn’t see Dukes as a starter, and didn’t want to pay him to not start, so they cut him. He was a model citizen there.

      what are Curtis Granderson or AJ Burnett going to do?

      Win. Winning cures all clubhouse malcontents. People pout less when they’re in first place, enjoying life.

      • JackISBACK

        But its not about pay though, he’s making league minimum, so whoever they are going to replace him with is basically going to make as much money as well.

        I’m guessing he threw a hissy fit when he was told he wasn’t a starter, and they threw him out. How’s he going to react here?

        I don’t know if he’s a winning cures all type guys, and I don’t think winning cures guys in the first place, it just doesn’t get media attention. There are certain players that just look out for themselves first, and he seems to put himself before the team a lot. I agree its a low risk move, I just don’t like the move because I don’t think he’s going to change at all.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          I’m guessing he threw a hissy fit when he was told he wasn’t a starter, and they threw him out. How’s he going to react here?

          Well, if he’s not signed and told “You’re going to be a starter from day one”, he doesn’t really have much right to throw a hissy fit, I’d say. If he’s signed and told “You’ll be in the mix, but you have to earn your spot”, then he’ll be in the mix and have to earn his spot.

      • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “The Nats said over and over again that he didn’t work out not for “he was out of line” reasons, but for baseball reasons. “

        Yeah and we also take at face value every word spoken by Cashman or Girardi to the media. You’re being a bit selective about when we should take someone’s public statements at face value or not.

        “He was a model citizen there.”

        Are we basing that statement on anything other than his lack of an arrest since 2007?

        “People pout less when they’re in first place, enjoying life.”

        Yeah, and some people have problems and are just messed up, whether they’re on a winning team or not. Again, I’m not sure how we’re reaching this conclusion that Dukes is over his problems, wouldn’t cause any problems within the team, and would have his personal issues improved upon just by being on a winning team. Some people may be like that, but some people have problems that being on a winning baseball team don’t solve. We don’t know enough about Elijah Dukes to be making these declarations either way.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          “He was a model citizen there.”

          Are we basing that statement on anything other than his lack of an arrest since 2007?

          Do we need to base that statement on anything other than his lack of an arrest since 2007? Nothing has been publicly stated or privately whispered about any negative Dukes behavior. Do we now need a different standard of proof?

          • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            For a guy with a history like his? Yeah, kinda.

            Again… Not saying he’s definitely still a crazy person who I wouldn’t want near my baseball team… Just saying we don’t have persuasive evidence that he’s not.

            At the very best I’d say what we have here is inconclusive evidence. We have a guy with a terrible history, who hasn’t been arrested since 2007. We can’t say he’s still got the same problems, but we surely also can’t say he doesn’t, just because he hasn’t been arrested in three years.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              Okay. So, if we split the difference and agree that there’s a 50% chance that Dukes is still a crazy axe murderer and a 50% chance that he’s a reformed psycho who is now a clean citizen, the question now becomes:

              “Is it worth giving a league minimum contract and a shot to win the 25th roster spot (or possibly get optioned to Scranton for an extended audition) to a 50/50 good guy/headcase who has the raw baseball talent to permanently plug our currently unsettled LF hole?”

              If Dukes was a 100% mental case, I’d say no. Given the evidence accumulated from Washington that says he may have matured and his problems may be behind him, I’d say it’s well worth 400k and a 40-man spot.

              If he steals batting gloves from Jeter’s locker, cut him. No harm, no foul. Only costs us Jon Albaladejo (and cutting him will save us part of Dukes’s salary anyway).

              Dukes’s solid Nationals tenure mitigates the risk, and the reward is potentially great.

              • handtius

                Ah, I miss this place…sorry for the vacancy.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

            I find myself jumping between agreeing partially with both Mondesi and TSJC. On the one hand, using a standard that he hasn’t been arrested (though he was charged with driving with a suspended license in ’08) is a poor barometer with which to judge his progress in maturation. On the other, aside from anecdotal bits that there would be a more relaxed atmosphere with Dukes gone, he seems to have greatly improved with his attitude and keeping his nose clean.

            He wasn’t a model citizen there. But he’s taken steps and it seems that the decision really was more a baseball one than a personal one. The Nats felt he hadn’t made great improvements from ’09, he still was a source of some friction, and they worried about how he’d react if they optioned him to AAA.

            Still, his past transgressions were serious. From choking out a teammate to threatening to murder his own children to assaulting pregnant women to bumping umps to having feuds with his manager—we can’t just dismiss those issues because he hasn’t been arrested in two years. He might have bi-polar disorder or be past the point of reform.

            But he might not. I think his talent and his relative good behavior plus the Yankee clubhouse and winning make him well worth the risk. But there is risk.

            Big thing we should keep in mind. The clubhouses in both Tampa and in Washington didn’t have a lot of veteran leadership and were both accustomed to losing games with great regularity.

            Two things they Yankees don’t suffer from.

            • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              “Still, his past transgressions were serious. From choking out a teammate to threatening to murder his own children to assaulting pregnant women to bumping umps to having feuds with his manager—we can’t just dismiss those issues because he hasn’t been arrested in two years. He might have bi-polar disorder or be past the point of reform.
              But he might not. I think his talent and his relative good behavior plus the Yankee clubhouse and winning make him well worth the risk. But there is risk.”

              I’d just like to clarify that this was all I was saying in this thread. I’m not trying to convince anyone that Dukes hasn’t improved in the last couple of years, but to point to his lack of legal issues since ’07 ’08 and some anecdotal evidence and the fact that the guy has gotten a couple of years older as determinative proof that the guy is past his problems is just something I can’t agree with.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                I never said “definitive proof”.

                I said “reason to believe”.

                • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  I don’t think you meant to say that, but yeah, you kinda did.

                  http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....ent-806078

                  Whatever, I get what you’re saying, you get what I’m saying. No need to argue further over semantics.

              • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

                Gotcha. Agree there. There’s evidence pointing both ways. I think his maturation is probably somewhere in the middle, which if true, I think is definitely worth a long look.

                At this point nothing is conclusive. FWIW I doubt the Yanks would bother with him. Ah well.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Again, I’m not sure how we’re reaching this conclusion that Dukes is over his problems,

          Because several baseball people have said over the past few years that Dukes is over his problems. Not just Riggleman and Rizzo and numerous people in the Nats organization, but baseball writers and columnists, people who follow the club. There’s plenty of stories about how Dukes appreciated the second chance the Nats gave him and rededicated himself to being a better person.

          • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Whatever, this isn’t going to get resolved. I think you’re being a bit selective about whose word you want to take as gospel, and I don’t think anything presented is persuasive evidence, to anyone other than someone who wants to believe that it is, that the guy is over his problems. I’ll leave it at that.

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

              BTW, I love when the two of you argue. It’s like when mom gets all pissy that dad flirted with the waitress and then they eventually scream and mom writes “Divorce” on the white messaging board in the kitchen and then dad screams that she’s a good-for-nothing slut, drinks scotch in his man cave and eventually they both fall asleep because they’re old and incapable of being awake past 10 pm.

              By the time the cats are fed in the morning they’ve both forgotten what had transpired but have terrible headaches. Sometimes mom even packs my lunch for work that day.

              Garden apartments are sweet.

              • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Dude, it is fun, isn’t it? Good arguments are the best, it’s no fun when everyone agrees all the time. I mean, a lot of us agree very often because we tend to reach the more reasonable conclusions, I’m not saying anyone should be choosing bad positions and arguing them just for the sake of arguing… But when there are disagreements, it’s good times.

                • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  PS: I’ve been fighting the urge to end every one of my posts in these conversations with some version of “It’s done.”

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                  PS: you’re fat.

                • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Yeah, by “it’s done,” I meant the platter of wings.

                  :: sneezes, chicken bone flies across room ::

  • Vin

    Very intriguing.

    He is a Hillsborough HS grad (Tampa), same HS as Gooden and Sheff, which could work in his favor.

    The Yanks have shown an affinity for Tampa guys in the past, at least when GMS III was running the show.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Carl Everett, too.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

        Carlsaurus Everrex is the man.

    • Bo

      u really think coming from the same hs as model citizens gooden and sheff helps???

    • YankeeScribe

      Must be something in the water at that HS

  • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

    He wouldn’t be a problem in the clubhouse. Jorge would piss all over him if he caused trouble.

    http://www.videovat.com/videos.....onyou.aspx

    Seriously though, I don’t even see how it’s possible for a 4th/5th OFer to be an issue when he is surrounded by the best players in the game.

  • cano24

    “I hate to bring race into it, but CC Sabathia and Curtis Granderson are two African American guys widely considered to be class acts and great people, and I can’t help but think they would be a positive influence on Dukes.”

    Doesn’t Derek also fit into that category

    • mike c

      i thought he was italian

      • jim p

        Derek is Everyman. At least in his taste for women.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      Jete’s father is black, mother is white.

      FWIW, I think this is more about an environmental issue, not necessarily a racial problem. Read up on Dukes’ history and you’ll find it’s pretty fucked up. His father is in prison because he murdered a man that attempted to sell fake crack to Dukes’ mother. Dukes grew up in a nasty ghetto (after his home was destroyed by a hurricane, no less) and bounced around school after school. There’s a decent chance he also may have a behavioral disorder like bi-polar.

      I very much doubt Sabathia, Jeter or Granderson can relate because they happen to be black or half-black.

      • Rose

        Then let’s tell him to take some of that $1M+ he’s made thus far in his career and use it on a shrink. Doesn’t the MLB or team pay for those kinds of things for their players anyway??

        And Oprah Winfrey had a rough childhood too! And look at the improvements she made! She went from dirt poor with no future to a billion dollar fraud…so there’s hope for Dukes yet!

  • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

    Was he a switch hitter in the minors? MiLS says he was.

    http://www.minorleaguesplits.c.....?pl=452668

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      You’re thinking of Curtis Granderson. Different guy.

      • bexarama

        well-played, sir

  • Hey ZZ

    “And, on top of all this, it would be an extremely easy to move to back out of. If Dukes acts up at all, they can cut him and lose nothing but a few hundred grand.”

    Exactly. Most of this thread has been an argument about whether or not he has reformed. Does it really matter though as long as he is not a serial killer? What are you really sacrificing here by signing him? Even the smallest indiscretion, you cut him, and move on.

  • mikebk

    it’s really simple if he is a problem they just cut him and walk away, i dont see any real downside here. It is not like he is going to single handily ruin the clubhouse, but he does offer a potential upgrade over thames or even winn while at worst he goes to AAA or gets cut.

  • Rey22

    Forget about Dukes, the Pirates are signing him. (As they’ve done with unwanted OFs lately)

  • Hughesus Christo

    Thames and Hoffman suck. Elijah Dukes has major potential. If he flames out we can call up Golston or C-Curt (still need to see a Curt-Curt-Swish OF) to be the 5th outfielder. I see no reason NOT to do this. At best you’re looking at a long-term answer in left with 280/400/520 potential. At worst you wasted a few months and a journeyman 5th OF. I endorse.

    Anyone thinking Elijah Dukes can single-handedly derail the defending world champion New York effing Yankees and their $200 million payroll is out of their minds. Derek Jeter had Chad Curtis erased because he wouldn’t stop asking him about Jesus (no Montero). You think Dukes would hang around for a second more than he needed to be if something was going sour? Give me a break.

    • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “Anyone thinking Elijah Dukes can single-handedly derail the defending world champion New York effing Yankees and their $200 million payroll is out of their minds.”

      I don’t think anyone’s really saying that though, I think you’re kind of creating a straw-man when you say something like that. I understand your stance on this, but I think it’s reasonable for other people to think it does matter when considering whether the Yanks should pursue this guy, whether he’s easily released or not – and you don’t have to be worried that Dukes is going to “single-handedly derail” the Yankees, or anything else equally as ridiculous, to reasonably hold that opinion.

      Just to reiterate what I said in my other comments in this thread (above), I haven’t said anywhere in this thread that the Yanks shouldn’t sign Dukes because of his personal history, I was just arguing that his personal history shouldn’t be dismissed just because he hasn’t had any serious incidents lately.

      And again, I get where you’re coming from… But I’d still take his personal history into account here. The Yankees have a bunch of options for left field in 2010, so I’d consider the fact that this guy might be a problem in the clubhouse before introducing him into what has been and seems to be as harmonious a clubhouse as can be asked for. I’m not worried he’d blow the team up or anything and yeah, he could be released at the first hint of a problem, but at the same time… If there’s not a huge need for the guy, I’m not sure I bother with the possible hassle. I’ve taken the position before that the Yankees, because of how strong their roster and development system is, and because of their financial advantages, don’t have to take chances on guys with injury or personality issues like some other teams do (like, for example, when people suggest acquiring Milton Bradley), and I think those same concerns apply when considering Elijah Dukes.

      So just don’t dismiss the people who are concerned with this stuff, they’re not necessarily being annoying worriers about this. I think these are pretty valid concerns (whether you agree with them or not). I think the personal history stuff matters, whether he’s easily released or not.

  • http://www.conservationvaluenotes.com Jon G

    Heck no — I just don’t buy that his troubles are behind him. Why even play with the potential for bringing in a clubhouse cancer here? That’s the last thing we need right now.

    I’m a big fan of Paul O’Neil and Johnny Damon types — good hard working, solid players with good character.

    It’s still to soon to see if his troubles are really behind him — they were pretty serious. Pass on Elijah Dukes.

    • Brett Gardner’s Quadriceps

      I disagree.

      2007 was three years ago.

    • Bo

      exactly. u dont win titles with selfish headcases like dukes.

      • V

        :spits tea across screen:

        Really?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Operation: SHUTDOWN

    • V

      Do you know who ISN’T available for $440k and a 40 man roster spot right now? Johnny Damon and Paul O’Neill.

      Well, O’Neill might, but he wouldn’t be a good player.

      Dukes is available. Damon isn’t.

      Dukes is worth $440k and a 40 man roster spot.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        There’s only one problem with your master plan, though:

        Elijah Dukes: not white ERR, I mean, uh, “good hard working, solid players with good character”.

        • http://enternight.mlblogs.com Ana

          ietc

  • http://incumbentgm.wordpress.com Joltin’ Joe

    Here’s what the Yanks have to offer:

    – another chance, maybe his last, to stick to an MLB roster
    – 4th OF / spot starter
    – great clubhouse
    – a franchise history of players with bad experiences turning it around

    What Dukes offers the Yankees:

    – if healthy, a good 4th OF who can start capably when needed
    – has shown good ability with the bat, enough to be a regular
    – 25 years old, league minimum salary, minor league option

    Roll the dice!

  • tec

    you make some good points, but i think the argument for why he would not succeed sits squarely with the media focus in NYC. I get sick of hearing about the media in NY, but in this case I think it is definitely a major concern. He’d be scrutinized from the moment he arrived and so far he has not shown that he is anywhere close to mature enough to deal with that. in fact, i’m guessing he’d make randy johnson’s run-in with the NY media look tame.

  • Angelo

    I really dont see the big deal in taking a chance on him. He may turn out to be a great addition and a long term solution in left field. Taking a risk isnt going to kill the Yankees. He does something wrong and the Yankees cut him loose. Easy, quick and painless. Its really just too good of a risk to pass up. If he does something wrong it isnt going to change the Yankees into an awful team. Seriously, a club house cancer cannot take effect, if the cancer is removed. I don’t understand people who are saying “dont do it.” It is such a small risk/great reward type of move, it would not make any sense to pass this up. Hopefully the Yankees move fast on this one.

    • Januz

      I do not want this guy on the team. There are guys in sports that can flat out ruin a team with their negative attitude (See Milton Bradley). In addition, one of the great things about the 2009 Yankees, is you had 25 guys you could actually root for, unlike say, the 2000 Yankees (Even A-Rod was on good behavior). They don’t need him.

      • Tom Zig

        Milton Bradley wasn’t the only one to blame for the Cubs sucking.

        • Bo

          the cubs won 90+ games the yr before bradley got there. they brought the same team abck and added him. they went in the gutter.

          yes. some players can bring an entire team down.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            /boversimplified

          • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

            You cannot be serious.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              Oh, he is serious.

              Sure, he’s overlooking Alfonso Soriano’s massive 2009 slump, and Geovany Soto’s regression, and the fact that the Cubs got absolutely nothing offensively from their double-play combo (Theriot, Fontenot), or that the closer downgrade from Kerry Wood to Kevin Gregg was actually quite large and detrimental, or that they traded away Mark DeRosa for three prospects who were total non-factors to the 2009 season, or that they shipped quality starter Jason Marquis for the forgettable Luis Vizcaino (and then cut him a month into the season), or that their total teams OPS+ went from 102 in 2008 to 88 in 2009… no, none of that shit matters.

              All that matters is that they added Milton Bradley. He singlehandedly, through sheer force of negative will, cause all those other slumps, regressions, poor performances, and maladies.

              That’s how it is in SBGL’s world. It’s how he thinks. Part of his charm.

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        So it was Milton Bradley’s attitude’s fault that the Cubs were 12th/9th/8th/10th in the quad-slash categories in the NL in ’09? I’m not saying his attitude helped them or anything, but it wasn’t the reason the Cubs were bad. The offense didn’t click, excluding D=Lee and Aramis, and the latter missed most of May and all of June. Those were much bigger factors in the Cubs’ 2009 demise than Milton Bradley’s poor attitude.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        In addition, one of the great things about the 2009 Yankees, is you had 25 guys you could actually root for, unlike say, the 2000 Yankees

        Yeah, the 2000 Yankees was a real shithole of insufferable assholes that nobody, and I mean NOBODY liked. Like Orlando Hernandez, who beat up nuns and children for fun; Tino Martinez, who sold heroin to little kids in the stands between innings, and Randy Choate, who would ritualistically buy, f#$k, kill, bury, dig up, re-f$%#, and re-kill a hooker in every city of every road trip.

        What a horrible bunch of sociopaths the 2000 Yankees were. I hated those assholes.

        Wait, what?

        • Rose

          Tino Martinez, who sold heroin to little kids in the stands between innings

          Those were the days…

          • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

            I can’t find anything that says Tino didn’t sell heroin to kids between innings so….

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              /GlennBeck’d

              • Rose

                Leave Beck alone!

                Seriously though, I do agree with a lot of the things he says regarding the government’s attempt to control everyone, them spending more and more money we don’t have, etc. But he does get a little dramatic with the antics. Then again, that’s why he makes $20M+ a year and we don’t…

                :/

                • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Whether you like Beck or not, please cut it out with defending him all the time here. Nobody actually explains why Beck is a punchline, they just toss his name into throw-away jokes once in a while… So there’s no need for the sincere defenses of him.

                  Sorry… It’s just enough, I don’t need to come to RAB to read comments about how much you like Beck (even though you hedge and admit he’s probably insane) or about how he has some hot interview set up with Eric Massa (how’d that work out for everyone) or anything of the sort. Let’s just quit it with that stuff.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                  For the record, I have no problem with anyone agreeing with the ideological principles that Beck supports.

                  I do have a problem, however, when you agree with the logical “proofs” that Beck uses to defend the ideological principles that he supports. There’s nothing wrong with being a conservative, a libertarian, a Republican, a right winger, a tea partier, or any of those philosophical viewpoints. There is something wrong, however, with saying that NBC News is a pro-communist evil media cabal because of some pieces of sculpture at Rockefeller Center.

  • Rick in Boston

    IMHO, if this was still George’s team then Dukes’ press conference in Tampa would be at noon today. Steinbrenner the Elder had a soft-spot for guys who wanted to turn their lives around and fought tooth and nail for them to succeed: Martin, Howe, Strawberry, Gooden.

    In this instance, I think it’s something that goes beyond this being the Cashman Yankees. If I was in Cashman’s shoes, I’d ninja a meeting with Dukes and bring him in secretly to meet with Girardi and some of the senior Yankees, let them lay out the ground rules for his role in New York. I’m usually against players having any say/control in the bringing in of certain players unless it’s to help grease the wheels of a stud FA, but in this case, I’d make an exception. I’d love to bring Dukes onboard – he’s got great talent, but there is a risk here that isn’t there with a number of other players.

    I got a chance to see Dukes play in the Sally League in ’02 or ’03 – the guy hit an absolute laser that was still rising when it went over a 20-foot high centerfield wall and disappeared into a tree. It was, by far, the most impressive moment I saw in my two seasons working in baseball; and I saw a perfect game, as well as Matt Cain, Merkin Valdez, Ryan Howard and Gavin Floyd have absolute monster games.

  • Rose

    I don’t see why you wouldn’t give this guy a shot. You never know.

    It’s kind of like in High School…it was easy to crack a few jokes in class and listening to everyone chuckling at your inappropriate and childish behavior kind of fueled you for further antics. By college, nobody was doing that at all. Not one single person. Nobody acted out. Everybody is (for the most part) grown up and if they feel like being irresponsible they would just skip the class instead because they realize it’s not that funny anymore and nobody cares for it.

    The same may go for Elijah Dukes. The Nationals are a team of losers who are frustrated (both the players and management) with finding ways to climb out of the cellar. And as several Yankee players have described, “winning creates chemistry”. So constantly losing might contribute to the opposite in some fashion.

    Anyway, being surrounded by a bunch of classy winners might create that “college” aspect where he’s been given a chance to succeed and win…and he might realize that his antics aren’t really all that necessary anymore as he’s seeing literally everybody else on the team getting along just fine being professional and courteous.

    Is this a stretch? Of course it is…but it’s certainly a realistic possibility.

  • Rob in CT

    Dukes is a better talent gamble than Marcus Thames or Jamie Hoffmann. The risk is that he’s still a nutbar.

    If I was Cash, I’d talk to Girardi and see how he felt about rolling the dice on this guy. Maybe talk to a couple of clubhouse leaders about it. If they’re on board, do it.

  • Bo

    Dukes?? lol. You cant honestly advocate signing Dukes. The guy is a clubhouse cancer. Chemistry is important. His talent doesnt outweigh his disruptions. One thing this team doesnt need is a Mel Hall type. You do not win with those types.

    Dukes is a disaster. On par with Milton bradley. No amount of talent can outweigh that. And its not like hes actually performed or anything.

    • V

      Reggie Jackson laughs in your face.

  • CS Yankee

    I gotta believe that Cashman already knows the good, the bad, and the ugly on Dukes. Former employers tend to be vague when releasing employees but if Cash has a solid relationship with the Nats FO…the skinny will likely come out.

    To me, it’s not fair to compare him to the other troubled souls…as the self destructed. Specifically,
    Martin, Mantle, etc….booze, fights, hookers = having fun
    Straw, Howe, Doc, etc…coke, DUI’s, hookers = having fun
    Arod, etc., etc….taking ‘roids = enhancing stats, salary, etc
    Dukes….wife beating, attemp to hurt kids = scum

    JMHO…but won’t verbally beat up Cash & Co if they take the business risk.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    You need to weigh the risk and reward, and I think the reward far outweighs the risk. The reward is that you have a beast of a LF, the one (somewhat) weak spot in your lineup.

    The risk is that he’s a clubhouse cancer. Is that really a risk? He’d be the 25th guy on a 25 man roster, sorry, those guys don’t get to be ‘clubhouse cancers’, they make problems and they soon become free agents. No worry there.

    The other risk is that he can’t produce. Again, that’s easily fixed by cutting him loose. He’ll cost no money and no prospects, there is no big upfront cost that you need to worry about recouping.

    • CS Yankee

      Business wise to terms in what they have/need/want (for the yankees) in the OF…makes great sense.

      I’m just saying that he is troubled in a different way. Even in prison they treat people who hurt kids much differently.

      All those others listed (Straw, Doc, Hamilton, etc) have self destructed only. Imagine if your CC…he has kids and a wife…how can he mentor, have a relationship with this guy?

      His wife, family and friends would need to be on board as well or it would be that much tougher. It could happen, CC seems to be professional, capable and likely to take on a project. This might not be the best project.

      It’ll be taxing….how taxing?

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        So if he’s troubled in a different way, he shouldn’t get another chance? There are a ton of troubled guys, that CC has played with before, and will play with again. Until CC and his wife are the GM’s, what he says doesn’t matter. And, if you asked CC, I’m pretty sure anyone who can help him win is a welcome teammate. Hell, the Philadelphia Eagles just voted Michael Vick for the courage award. Ty Cobb stabbed a guy. Lastings Milledge has had umm, some problems.

        Bad guys in sports is not a new concept.

        • CS Yankee

          So if he’s troubled in a different way, he shouldn’t get another chance?

          Self destruction = yes
          Hurting others = doubtful

          Just saying, that this is a bigger issue (at least it is for me). I typically agree with your posts however.

          /un BO like’d

  • Bo

    Have any of you guys even observed Cashmans MO since he took over? He wouldnt touch this clown with a ten foot pole.

    It’s also kind of funny that everytime there is a post of “sign him” we get a nice chorus of “yes!”. Especially for headcase disasters like Dukes. Start using the noggins. This may be as bad as the Igawa for the lefty reliever role which had a nice chorus of clueless “yes'”.

    • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      You just had to go and ruin a perfectly defensible point (that you don’t think this is Cashman’s kind of move) with your uncontrollable need to lob grenades at other commenters. If you just made your point about Cashman, which I’m sure some people would argue with but I really don’t think is such a crazy point, without the extra bitching about other commenters, do you not see how much more productive that would have been and how much less conflict and bitching and moaning it would cause?

      I don’t know if I’m talking to a wall here, but I figured I’d give this a shot. Just… Slow down for a few seconds before you hit “add comment” and think about whether what you’re saying is productive and necessary in the conversation. Every comment you make doesn’t have to be such an instigation.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        WWDBD

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          Always look to the bracelet.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            You know, we could get 100-195 of those bracelets for only 75 cents a piece.

            https://reminderband.com/order/index.php

            This could be the new “Save the Big Three” t-shirts.

    • Raf

      I believe Sidney Ponson had his fair share of character issues.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/78400-joseph-delgrippo Joseph DelGrippo

    With the Yankees so thin in the OF depth department at the higher levels, this is not a bad move to sign him to the minumum and let him work on his game and attitude.

    After all, like Mike said, the Yankees can cut him at any time and only cost themselves a few hundered grand.

    If the Yankees sign him, they should not let him play in the majors right away.

    Instead of Triple A, how about sending Dukes to Double A Trenton where manager Tony Franklin can mentor him a little bit. Franklin is a great man who might be able to get through to Dukes. I don’t know if Dave Miley at Scranton has the correct aptitude for Dukes.

    Sending him down to Trenton will keep him closer to the Bronx, and maybe the double drop down in levels will wake up Dukes to the harsh reality that he eventually might end up broken down on the streets or in jail.

    A test of that magnitude should turn anyone straight. If it doesn’t straighten out Dukes, then see ya!

    • CS Yankee

      Solid post…

      This is why I enjoy this site…being able to hear a different angle that makes sense.

      Thanks!

    • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I think it’s pretty unlikely that Dukes would sign with the Yanks just to get shipped to AA. This guy’s got 29 teams he can try to sell his wares to, I’d be shocked if he was looking to sell his wares to a team that’s looking to send him, at age 26, to a level he hasn’t played in regularly in 5 years. I’m not saying you’re crazy or that it’s an impossibility, but I think we can file that one under “unrealistic ideas.”

      • http://bleacherreport.com/users/78400-joseph-delgrippo Joseph DelGrippo

        Well, Dukes could sign with the Giants or Royals or any other second division type team and get a spot in the majors, but then he would realistically have not shot at winning.

        Unless a top playoff type team like the Red Sox (no shot), Angels (still highly unlikely) or the White Sox (a possible maybe) signs him, then Dukes’ best chance would take any offer from the Yankees.

        If the Yankees sign him and decide to ship him out, then Dukes can boost his play and attitude under Tony Franklin’s mentoring.

        For Elijah Dukes it would not be about Elijah Dukes right now, but Elijah Dukes 4 or 5 months from now.

        For the same money, I would sign with the Yankees and go to Low A Charleston if I had to.

        Going to Double A Trenton would be the first sign of an improved attitude, correct?

        • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          “Well, Dukes could sign with the Giants or Royals or any other second division type team and get a spot in the majors, but then he would realistically have not shot at winning.”

          Look… Just think about this in the context of… I’m sorry, but the best word is: reality.

          When was the last time a player signed with the Yankees (or the Sox or the Angels or any other team that has been on top for a while), with the knowledge that he’d be sent to AA, instead of signing with a team that might not have as good a chance at winning a World Series but would offer than player a spot on the MLB roster?

          Nobody is signing with the Yankees, to go to AA, instead of signing with another team to stay on a MLB roster. Nobody. The concept is so unrealistic as to be laughable, I’m sorry.

          “Going to Double A Trenton would be the first sign of an improved attitude, correct?”

          That’s a fallacy of false choice. He doesn’t have to go to AA to show signs of an improved attitude, there are an unlimited number of other ways he could show an improved attitude other than signing with the Yankees and going to play in Trenton.

          • http://bleacherreport.com/users/78400-joseph-delgrippo Joseph DelGrippo

            “He doesn’t have to go to AA to show signs of an improved attitude, there are an unlimited number of other ways he could show an improved attitude other than signing with the Yankees and going to play in Trenton.”

            Yes, but most players want to play for the Yankees at some point in their careers. Has been that way since the 1920’s when Ruth created the dynasty, and Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Munson, Mattingly and now Jeter have helped maintain it.

            As Mike said in his original post, the Yankees currently have great clubhouse chemistry, but they do not need Dukes now.

            If Dukes is signed by the Yankees, then Dukes with options has no choice to where he plays, as he is property of the organization.

            Since the Yankees do not need him now, I would put him in the minors first.

            He then goes where he is told to go.

            Franklin at Trenton would be a better mentor for him then Dave Miley would at Scranton. Franklin is well liked by all players who have come through Trenton. That is the primary reason to put Dukes down in Trenton for a while, to have Franklin talk with him.

            It’s not like Dukes will spend the entire year in Trenton. That is unrealistic.

            If Dukes performs well with on field play and a better attitude after say a month in Trenton, then he moves up to Triple A for a bit and eventually could be in the majors by June or July.

            That is much better deal than being a starting outfielder for the Giants or Royals.

            The Yankees are big on attitude with their young players. That is one reason why Aroldis Vizcaino was traded in the Javy Vazquez deal. He had a tremendously bad attitude.

            However, since you can cut Dukes anytime, signing Dukes for minimal money is still worth the risk.

            • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Dude… I think you’re looking at this through substantially reality-altering pinstripe-tinted glasses, but whatever. I’ve said my piece.

              • http://bleacherreport.com/users/78400-joseph-delgrippo Joseph DelGrippo

                Dude… I’ve said my piece, too.

                • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  What was the point of this last comment? The point of my last comment was just to say “whatever, I disagree but I’ve explained why, so I’m peace-ing out of this convo.” What was the point of yours? I ask because it seems a bit catty and immature, like you’re aping my last comment just to be a dick.

                  I’m sorry I pointed out why your opinion on this matter is, let’s call it, less than persuasive, but there’s no need to get all bitchy about it. That’s what happens when you have a conversation and put your opinions out there… Sometimes someone comes along and explains why you’re wrong. It happens, it’s nothing to get sensitive over.

                • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi
                • http://bleacherreport.com/users/78400-joseph-delgrippo Joseph DelGrippo

                  Sorry for the delay in posting, but I left at 2 PM yesterday to catch a plane and was traveling last night.

                  The comment wasn’t meant to be catty, but as I was typing my last post yesterday on this topic, I was thinking the same thing you were, that it would be my last post on the topic and would move on.

                  So when you said that you have “said you piece”, I was in the same thought process and repeated your statemnt to that effect.

                  I am never worried about different opinions. It wouldn’t be the first time someone disagreed with me about baseball, or anything else for that matter.

                  No big deal.

  • coolerking101

    The guy has been a scumbag his whole career and has not improved despite numerous second chances and having been banished to one of the worst teams in baseball. I think it’s safe to say he’s not going to change and any team that takes him is morally bankrupt.

    What’s next? Maybe some advance scouting of Mel Hall? Maybe he can still hit and is worth trying to sign?

    • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      All hail… The Cooler King.

    • CS Yankee

      True that!

  • Hey ZZ

    As defending World Champions the Yankees have a target on their back.
    With Dukes around I do not think other team’s will be comfortable putting it there.

  • KidKelly

    Everyone would be singing a different tune if Dukes busted up CC’s thumb, a la Cliff Johnson and Goose Gossage. Why take that chance?

  • Josh

    I’m shocked there hasn’t been more written in the above comments about another outfielder who recently came back to baseball after major off-field issues and found success – Josh Hamilton. Most people probably thought there was no way he could come back and do what he has done the last few years – yet he did. I would take a chance on Dukes in a heartbeat.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Josh Hamilton: not black

      • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Josh Hamilton: Also wasn’t arrested at least three times for battery, once for assault; didn’t have a restraining order filed against him by his wife for threatening to kill her; didn’t have incidents with other players, his manager and fans; amongst a litany of other incidents.

        • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          (Hamilton’s issues with drugs are also pretty irrelevant to Dukes’s history of violence. Just because Hamilton made a recovery and got his life back together enough so that he’s a good MLB player doesn’t mean other people in his situation will do the same, nor does it have any bearing on whether or not Elijah Dukes can or has overcome his problems.)

      • CS Yankee

        making distinction between Josh & Dukes issues in life
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
        TSJC using the race card

        (silently weeps that TSJC lost his hero status with me)

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          I’m not equating the two.

          I’m saying there’s another factor involved (besides the severity of their personal issues) that is most definitely in play in regards to why one is afforded more public love and the other is not. That factor is race.

          • Josh

            TSJC – couldn’t agree with you more that is a HUGE factor.

            Congressman – I wasn’t saying Josh Hamilton recovering = Elijah Dukes recovering. I was merely saying that for someone to say “Elijah Dukes will never change” is impossible to prove at the age of 25.

            As far as their transgressions, I’m not equating the two – however, drug abuse is equally as hard a habit to break (if not moreso) as violence. In the end it’s all about can the player change his ways enough to stay on the field and be effective.

            • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Just for the sake of clarity… I wasn’t responding to what you said, Josh, I was responding to TSJC. I have no problem with saying ‘hey, look, Hamilton had problems and was able to come back, so it’s not like Dukes can’t do it.’ I’m not passing judgment or commenting on the strength of that argument, but I definitely wasn’t addressing that part of this conversation when I responded to TSJC. I was just addressing the racial aspect that he introduced to the conversation.

              • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Actually I can see why you would think I was passing judgment on that comparison, I did say the Hamilton’s history with drugs was irrelevant to Dukes’s history with violence, etc. Whatever, my bad… I do, however, stick by those statements, although I’m clearly shooting a bit from the hip here so it’s not like I’ve thought through this stuff long enough to really feel confident that my opinion is too strong. I do get why you’d bring up the Hamilton comparison, and I do think I think that comparison is kinda weak, for the reasons I’ve stated in this convo.

                Anyway… Just wanted to clarify that. You’re right, I addressed the stuff you said I addressed.

          • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            But you’re acting like they’re in the same position and one is being given some sort of free-pass and one is not, and that’s not what has happened.

            And to be fair, it’s not like Hamilton was given such a free-pass. The guy was out of baseball altogether for a period, and he wasn’t lauded for his recovery until after he recovered, became born-again, and had a very high level of success on the baseball field. To compare him to Dukes is unfair… Dukes hasn’t had the same experiences as Hamilton had, and hasn’t come back from those experiences the way Hamilton did. They’re just totally different situations, it’s a really poor comparison.

            I totally agree that perceptions of these things are tinged by race, and I think that’s true across the board. But you stretch too far to make this connection between Hamilton and Dukes, and that stretch cheapens what is an otherwise valid and reasonable argument. Race is pretty far down the list of reasons, at this point in time, why Josh Hamilton has enjoyed more popularity than has Elijah Dukes.

          • CS Yankee

            In the body of the work, it appeared that you were. However, I still don’t believe the other factor (which is the same factor) has anything to do with it.

            Straw, Doc got the same love, chance, etc as Hamilton…in fact, it could be argued that they got more…why? I don’t believe it was race…but rather prior proven talent on the big stage, and the fact they did it to themselves (not others).

            Dukes = establish scum, if Cashman pulls the trigger on him for business reasons…I’ll understand, either way.

            established scum = hurting others (no race required)

            • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              I don’t agree that race doesn’t play a role in these situations, but I think the important point you address is that the success of the player is the most important factor in their acceptance and popularity. I’d also guess that the offense committed matters to the public’s perception of the guy (I don’t think guys who use drugs are seen as negatively, as evidenced by CS Yankee’s comment), as guys with a history of violence and domestic violence are probably not as likely to be embraced as guys who struggle with drugs.

  • Kevin Ocala, Fl

    So, you have a sociopath/psychopath that can potentially play ball. Yeah, give him a chance. Two conditions, he has to go through a metal detector everyday and his car should be inspected as though Dukes was an al-Qaida operative….Everyone deserves at least 10 chances in life, if they are gifted. Just ask Michael Irvin.

  • Badabling

    Yeah, after reading all this…I personally think the Yanks have no need for a headcase on their club. This guy is always in the press and never for anything postive. I agree that everyone deserves a second chance but this dude has been given ample opportunities and continues to suffer from cranium-rectal inversion. I could see a team lacking offense in the NL West taking a flyer on the cheap or even the Halos as a DH type. Get him on the West Coast and a good shrink and he might impress.

    The media in NY is known for making mountains out of mole hills, hell, perfect example is this “competetion” for the 5th starter crap. No other team has had more stories written about a spot, that in the grand scheme doesn’t really matter.

    Back to my point, the media would have a field day with this guy. Remember Randy Johnson being approached TMZ style in the streets of NY? Imagine Dukes in a situation like that. Let’s take a guy with serious mental issues and place him in the heart of the Big Apple, he’d be set up to fail. Normal people do not threaten to harm their children, their wife… maybe, never the kids! Leave the kids out of it.

    The only NY based team that should go anywhere near this bum is the team Sidney Ponson just signed with.

    IMHO

  • Ted Nelson

    Is the guy even going to clear wavers? I mean, if you’re some team at the bottom of the league, why not claim the guy and give him a chance?

  • Ted Nelson

    Dukes hasn’t had any off-field issues in a couple of years. He might still have a terrible attitude–I have no idea–but there is apparently no one incident that sparked this decision. People are acting as if he needs to come back from some major catastrophe. His life has mostly been a catastrophe, but he hasn’t had a major catastrophe in a couple of years, I don’t think.

  • dark side of the goon

    If they misspelled my team’s name on my jersey, I’d be a malcontent too. And very very troubled.

  • The Voice of Reason

    When i was 18 i committed crimes too. I never however, threatened to murder children. Fuck Dukes, and if he ever comes to the Yankees I’ll stop rooting for the team.

  • Tampa Yankee

    WTF?!?!

  • theyankeewarrior

    Haha RAB should hire Dukes to hunt down people who make posts like this. If he won’t accept the job, then here’s plan B:

    http://bit.ly/cf66D4

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

    And I will strike down upon thee with GREAT VENGEANCE and FURIOUS ANGER those who would attempt to SPAM and ADWARE my brothers! AND YOU WILL KNOW MY NAME IS ELIJAH… when I lay my vengeance upon thee!