If the Devil Rays needed a reason not to trade Carl Crawford, recent issues with some of their top prospects will definitely make them think twice before moving their best hitter to another organization. Not to be outdone by Delmon Young and B. J. Upton, Devil Rays outfield prospect Elijah Dukes has been suspended by the organization. Dukes, who is no stranger to suspensions has been dismissed from the team indefinitely. Devil Rays’ management have not commented yet on the reason for this suspension. Earlier this season, the team had announced that Dukes had left the team for “personal reasons”. It now appears that Dukes was actually suspended for a verbal confrontation with a coach. Last season in Montgomery, Dukes was suspended on two occasions by the Southern League due to on field confrontations with umpires. In 2004, he was suspended by the organization for a month due to a run in with a coach.
Dukes, appeared to be making significant strides this season, in an effort to have his name included among the Devil Rays’ top prospects. Considered by many as the best athlete in the organization, Dukes is a true 5-tool prospect who was putting up impressive numbers at Durham. Before he was suspended, Dukes was hitting .295 with 8 home runs and 41 RBI, with a .914 OPS. With this latest suspension, one will have to wonder how much longer the team will consider Dukes as part of this organization’s future. Suddenly, with the recent problems of Young and Dukes, the offensive struggles of Joey Gathright, and the defensive struggles of Upton, Wes Bankston and Reid Brignac, the team’s future is looking a bit cloudier.
Devil Rays suspend outfielder Dukes [Montgomery Advertiser]