It has been a slow off-season for the Rays, as they have been hesitant to get involved in this year’s free agency not-so-free-for all. And since the winter meetings, the news has come even slower than Toby Hall trying to score from second on a single. Andrew Friedman and company seem to be more intent on improving the team through trades than over-spending on a mediocre free agency class. The most-oft targets of trade discussions and rumors have been Rocco Baldelli and B. J. Upton. Now add Elijah Dukes name to the rumor mill. According to one source, Pittsburgh Pirates are in discussions with the Rays and the object of their affection is Dukes. The source does not indicate who the Rays are asking for in return, but they do speculate that the Rays would demand either closer Mike Gonzalez or young starter Tom Gorzelanny. Gonzalez is 28 years old, but is not eligible for arbitration until after the 2007 season. Gorzelanny was selected in the second round of the 2003 draft, and went 2-5 with a 3.79 ERA in 11 starts for the Buccos.

While nothing appears imminent, moving Dukes still does not make the Rays opening day lineup any less murky. As long as Baldelli and Jorge Cantu remain with the Rays, Upton is a man without a position. However, without Dukes, it increases the likelihood that super-utility man Ty Wiggington would be the first baseman on most days.


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  1. Jake says:

    In my mind, Rocco deserves to be on the Rays in a long-term role than Upton or Cantu do. Cantu may put up some decent power numbers from the 2B spot, but his horrible glove and lack of range make him the worst 2B in ALL OF BASEBALL.

    I'm sick and tired of 2 things, in regards to Upton.
    1. His immense potential, mainly the fact that he's worth keeping because he appears to be "a superstar in the making"
    2. He'll be a good OF and his CF production would be immensely better than Roccos. Yet, he's never played CF in his life and Rocco has put up pretty decent numbers as a MLB CF. So much so that he's found his way into handfuls of trade rumors.

  2. John says:

    Bot Upton and Dukes are more valuable as tradebait to the Rays than on the roster. Dukes def. while Upton much less so.

    We don't need the attitude and lack of self control in the locker room. While Rays fans (the minor league number crunchers) see him on paper they don't see him for the person he is -- a walking timebomb.


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