Nats Take Risk, Acquire Dukes From Tampa Bay
On 12/6, it was announced that the Nationals had acquired the 23-year-old slugger Elijah Dukes from the D-Rays, for top pitching prospect Glenn Gibson. Many collectors had high hopes for Dukes this past season (his rookie year), but his problems off the field took him away from the game, both physically & mentally. His problems ranged from possession of marijuana to assault on his wife. He only hit .190 for the season with 10 HR & 21 RBI (of which 7 HR & 15 RBI were hit in the month of May), but 43% of his hits were for extra bases, which isn't too bad. What was bad was his striking out every 4.2 AB's.
After Dukes' decent May, his rookie cards started to fall as his problems started to mount. His 07 Bowman Auto RC averaged $17.72 TAC is June, then fell to $9.85 in July, and $8.36 in August. In October, he seemed to receive a little boost as that same rookie moved up to $10.01. I haven't seen any sell yet this month, but there are two ending within the the next week. We'll see if this recent news will help to spark some renewed interest in his cards.
There's no question that Dukes has potential to be an offensive force at the plate. The basic concern is whether or not he can keep his personal problems at a minimum. Hopefully this move to Washington, away from his home state of Florida, will provide him with the fresh start he needs. He's still young enough to turn things around and have a long & successful major league career.
The Nats seem to be planning for success in '08, with off-season signings of players like OF Lastings Milledge, C Paul LoDuca, IF Aaron Boone, OF Wily Mo Pena and others. This could be an opportune situation for a player like Dukes to reemerge as a focused & developing ball player.