The Washington Nationals today unconditionally released outfielder Elijah Dukes.
Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the
The Nationals currently have 44 players in their big league
The often enigmatic Dukes arrived in Washington with a sordid past stowed away in his suitcases. A history of violence toward players and various women in his life – including the mother of his children – as well as a failure to pay his child support hounded Dukes for his entire career.
Dukes also created on-the-field situations. The famous incident in New York which led to Nelson Figueroa lashing out after a game and calling Dukes a number of unpleasant names.
The thing that hurt most about Dukes’ tenure in Washington though was that he really, at times, appeared to be headed in the right direction off-the-field which everyone in NatsTown thought would lead to better on-field production. That promise was never realized.
Dukes was a physical specimen with instincts you see only once in a great while; but for whatever reason (which is only known to Dukes) he never seemed to put it together and often times appeared to be less than enthusiastic about being a baseball player.
The sad thing is, if Dukes never manages to make a paying job out of the sport of baseball, this story could end really poorly – Dukes never had much of a foundation outside of baseball anyway (his father recently died in jail). I sincerely hope someone picks him up and Dukes gets another chance.