Sunday, January 11, 2009

Elijah Dukes

There's been a lot of rumors surrounding Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher recently, and one of them will likely be traded before Spring Training, though I don't really think that's necessary. However, if we were to trade say, Xavier Nady, I think it would be a good idea to trade for a center fielder. The Nationals have a known interest in Nady, and they also have a troubled outfielder named Elijah Dukes. Dukes has had a lot of problems off the field in his career, and they were all pretty serious. However, his upside is enormous. He won't hit for a great average, but it won't be Adam Dunn bad, and he also walks a lot (15.3% walk rate), with good pop (.209 career IsoP). He is a plus defender at the corners, but I'm not sure how well he can play center, but he shouldn't be unbearably bad, and if he lives up to his offensive potential it will be well worth it. Just what is that offensive potential? In roughly half a season last year, he put up an .864 OPS and a .382 wOBA at just 24 years old. At age 30, Xavier Nady put up similar numbers: an .867 OPS and a .374 wOBA.

This move also solves a future problem. Dukes is under team control for another five years, while Nady will leave after next year. In 2010, Dukes can shift over to right, with Swisher in left (I'm not sure but I think Dukes has a better arm) and AJax in center. So instead of competing with probably five or six other teams for a thirty year-old Matt Holliday or re-signing an aging Johnny Damon, we can just use our young stud outfielder in right.

However, there are plenty of caveats to this move. First of all, would the Nats do it? Dukes's trade value is slightly deflated because of his legal troubles, but I don't know how low it is in the eyes of Jim Bowden. To be honest, I really don't know if we could get Dukes + for Nady, or if Bowden would even take a straight-up swap seriously. Second, there's Dukes' aformentioned legal troubles. I ussually don't care at all if a guy has been arrested or has had other problems, as long he plays well, I like him. But Dukes might be a different story. He has been arrested four times, has five children with four women, and threatened to kill his wife and child. Last year, the Nationals hired an ex- police officer to follow him around and keep him out of trouble, and he had no problems last year. So it is possible he has turned a corner. I mean, Josh Hamilton has done it, why can't he? So what we have to do is weigh the potential for an offensive monster who plays good D (once we move him to a corner) against the possibility that he goes back to his old ways and ends up struggling to stay on the field. What do I say? I say if a Nady-Dukes swap is availible straight up, do it. If we have to give up Swisher instead, I would want some more from the Nats. What do the rest of you think.

21 comments:

Mike NYY said...

Very interesting idea. I don't see how Nady makes sense for Washington though. They`re going nowhere next year. Otherwise I give him up in a heartbeat and I`ll throw in a few pitching prospects.

And I`m not sure I`d give up Swisher for Dukes. Swisher is under control for a few more years at a fairly cheap price (3 more?) and can be counted on for an EQA around .300 when he doesn't have a flukishly bad year like 2008. That with a great glove makes me very reluctant to trade him for a guy as risky as Dukes.

A quick glance at the stats has Dukes as an awful centerfielder. If this is accurate then I think I have to say no but if the stats are misleading and he can handle center well then definitely.

Are you kidding? said...

Nady for Dukes?

Jim Bowden would probably keel over dead from laughter.

Let's see, a 24-year-old five-tool outfielder that's under control for another 4 years... or one year of Xavier Nady... a 30-year-old outfielder coming off a career year, whose career numbers coming into 2008 against RHP were so crappy that he really isn't even qualified to be an everyday player in the Majors, but should instead probably platoon.

Nady's OPS (by year) against RHP:

.684 (2003), .524 (2004), .700 (2005), .736 (2006), .802 (2007) .886 (2008)

2008 is a colossal fluke for Nady, and he'd be lucky to even approach his 2007 mark against RHP.

How did you even come up with this? Get serious. There's not a GM in baseball who's that stupid.

The Nationals have Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, and Josh Willingham... all of whom are better than Xavier Nady. They've also got Austin Kearns (deadbeat) weighing them down too. Why would they trade one of their best young players for one year of a 30+ year old outfielder?

They need pitching... not a crappy outfielder in exchange for a good one.

Nate said...

Well the Nats are known to be interested in Nady, so they obviously don't think he's a fluke.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/109391-nationals-talking-to-yankees-about-acquiring-xavier-nady-nick-swisher/page/3 Thats where i got the idea from. That article suggests that Dukes has no real trade value, which is why I thought of this possibility. I agree that Bowden may not take this seriously, I wrote that in my post, but we don't know what Bowden thinks of Elijah Dukes.

And Mike, I know his numbers in center are bad, but its a pretty small sample size, and i think he would be acceptable for a year. If he's terrible, we could put Swisher in center. Dukes would be better in right than Nady.

Anonymous said...

Lastings Milledge may be a bit more realistic for Nady if Bowden really is dumb enough to want a one year rental.

Milledge in center for a year and then hopefully he can switch to a corner spot for Jackson in 2010. Milledge is poised for a breakout year.

Just a thought.

Nate said...

That is more realistic, but I don't really like Milledge much. He's not as good a fielder as Dukes, has poor plate discipline, similar power potential, and really only a little better when it comes to makeup. I'm still hoping we can get Dukes for Nady, or Nady + someone(s) not named Jackson, Hughes, Joba, Jesus, Melancon, etc.

rossdfarian said...

You were correct in your first couple of lines when you said it was unnecessary for the Yankees to make any trade of an outfielder.

Anonymous said...

you do realize dukes might be in jail right???

Hendo said...

That the Nats are said to be interested in Nady doesn't mean he makes sense. One hopes his name is just coming up to stir the pot some more as Bowden's and Cashman's people jaw about Swisher.

Anonymous said...

Dukes and Milledge are bums and would not fit the Yankee mold. That's why the Nats got them so cheap.

Nate said...

Can you explain to me what makes Dukes a bum? Is it because of the arrests, etc. or do you think he's a bad player?

Anonymous said...

I think the nats know the yanks have some pitching prospects they may throw in. Yanks are loaded with pitching in the farm systems, really quite a surplus and the Nats are not quite as loaded with pitching in the upper levels of thier system, so if they like someone at A or AA they think will project to thier AAA that changes a trade. Nats are going to have a decent starting nine (barring injury like last year) and they need pitching, someone has to develop from the sytem into an "ace" type then its easier to fill the #2,3 & 4. They are not in a good situation right now pitching wise. 2010, 2011? not now.

Anonymous said...

Nats need to shoot for 2009 with hudson and dunn as part of thier line-up. This would immediately increase fan interest. Zim, guzman, hudson, dunn & flores then dukes, milledge & willingham. Not a bad team, may cause some difficulties for the NL east. Its all about the pitching after they get hudson and dunn/swisher whatever...all about pitching?

Anonymous said...

Nate...yea, it's not only about the arrests but what they were arrested for. The Yanks would never trade for these guys.In fact, I bet that the Nats are their last stop,they will be out of baseball in less than three years.

Anthonypaul said...

Just leave the outfield alone no manny no dukes no whoever give the kids a shot in center platoon nady and swisher in right give it one more year bring up jackson either in july or sept see how he performs for 2010. Case closed yankees should give young players shots now theyve done a great job with their staff and adding a great bat and glove in tex forget all these trades people getting into too much give the kids a shot for once you never know if melky rebounds or gardner becomes the player we thought he would be before he was called up.

Bristol.NET said...

Look at Bowden's trading record. The guy doesn't trade unless he bends the other team over. He'd probably want Swisher and Nady for Dukes.

Anonymous said...

Dukes has been in no legal trouble since being acquired. Bowden got him when he was in trouble and has turned him around. Milledge has never been arrested, but did make a rap album and give fans some high fives - what a bum, huh?

Unless an absolute young stud (pitching or a Fielder or A. Gonzalez) is offered, neither is going anywhere.

Pitching-wise the Nats could have an extraordinary young rotation of Olsen, Lannan, Balester, Zimmermann, and Strasburg, but you can never have enough pitching.

Anonymous said...

I feel the opposite....Swisher for Dukes or even Miledge straight up makes more sense because Nady has proven he is a .300 hitter with power, but I only forsee more legal problems for Dukes coming to New York. Swisher had a terrible year while Nady had a decent year. Even though Nady is coming off of his contract this year, I'm sure the Nats have the money to spend on keeping him if he continues to mature into an established outfield bat. (Texiera for $200 mil offer?) The Yankees want to win THIS year, and only Nady is the safest bet-they are losing 2 100+ RBI guys in Abreu and Giambi and Nady could reach that, while Swisher or Dukes and maybe Miledge are question marks, so the Yanks should ask more for Nady.

Anonymous said...

If Dukes goes to the Yankees for Nady or Swisher then Bowden should be fired on the spot...Nady is overrated and Swisher is a bum. Also someone said the Yanks have good pitching in their farm system?!? Who are they Brien Taylor? Come on guys do some research....

Nate said...

Well they do have some good pitching prospects, but they are all in the low minors, which means they don't have too much value right now. Guys like Betances, Brackman, Heredia, McAllister, and Bleich. However if a pitcher is going to be traded it would probably be a guy like Kontos or maybe Kennedy.

Anonymous said...

Yes BUMS....Milledge treated as a YO and court ordered to enter a program or face criminal charges as an adult for having sex with underage girls and Dukes has more arrests than Home Runs but WOW no problems last year because he was baby sat by a retired cop. Again both bad apples who have a better chance at going to jail than being productive baseball players.

Mason said...

Now I dont know if this is still the main intention of trading Nady, but initially I thought that would be the main reason. Trade away Nady and in return pick up a couple of very good prospects and resign Andy Pettite to complete the already dangerous rotation. I would consider moving on from the Nationals and looking elswhere for some top young talent that may not be MLB ready yet but still surefire MLB players down the road. Dukes and Milledge both have high potential, but at the same time carry high risk. I'm not saying I don't want to trade for one of them, but it just seems to me like the Yankees could go find 1 or 2 high potential prospects from another team that don't carry the risk. Yes this suggestion has both pros and cons to it, but how many solutions don't have any problems? Im not saying this is the way the Yankees should carry out a trade, rather it is merely just another alternative to possibly the Yankees' last move this off-season.