Mar 17, 2010, 9:51 PM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Elijah Dukes' Nats career ends with a .256 average, 21 homers and 102 RBI in 188 games.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Jim Bowden sat behind a conference table in his suite at the Opryland Hotel on Dec. 3, 2007, having just traded for Elijah Dukes at the winter meetings and now facing a barrage of questions about the logic behind acquiring the talented-but-troubled outfielder.
"His book hasn't been written yet, just the first two chapters," said Bowden, then the Nationals' general manager. "The rest of his book is all in front of him, and we're going to do everything in our power to make the rest of the book special."
Twenty-seven months later, the Nationals closed the book on Dukes, and not necessarily for the reason everyone would have guessed on that December day in Nashville. Was he a model citizen during his time in Washington? Not entirely, though whatever issues he had since coming to town were miniscule compared to his infractions while playing for Tampa Bay.
No, Dukes wasn't released today because he made mistakes off the field. He was released because he wasn't good enough on the field to make up for the rest of the package.
The numbers, when totaled up, actually looked pretty solid: In 188 games with Washington, he hit .256 with 21 homers, 102 RBI and a robust .359 on-base percentage. But those numbers were spread out over two injury-plagued and inconsistent seasons. Try as the NatsRead more »
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