Dodgers 6, Devil Rays 3.
It was like David Chase wrote the most recent episode of Elijah Dukes’ career. It just went blank and nobody is quite sure what happened…
In the end there was an option that nobody saw and it was absolutely the right move by the Devil Rays organization. On Friday, the Rays optioned Elijah Dukes to Vero Beach, but Dukes will not report to the class-A affiliate. Rather, Dukes was placed on the temporary inactive list.
“What this allows us to do, and Elijah to do, is take some time away from the field and to focus on his personal life, re-evaluate everything, and, most importantly, allow him an opportunity away from the spotlight,” Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. “He has accepted this task and we’re very encouraged by it.”
The move allows the team to hold on to Dukes without the continued distractions to the major league team an without having to dump Dukes and his problems on a minor league affiliate. The only other options for the team would have been to release Dukes or send him to another organization and receive very little in return. The Rays could have also suspended Dukes, but that move would have surely been challenged by the player’s union which would have just kept Dukes in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons.
This was not a “spineless” move as suggested by John Romano of the St. Pete Times. Rather, this was a business decision. Dukes is off the team. He is stashed away indefinitely in a back pocket. It gives Dukes a chance to get his personal life in order. It gives the team a chance to move on. And in due time, memories of these problems will reside and hopefully Dukes value to the team and potential value to other teams will be reestablished.
There is no advantage to the team in releasing Dukes over the move they made. If the Rays released Dukes there is a very good chance that another team reaps the benefits without any compensation to the Rays and without any of the headaches that the Rays and their fans had to deal with. If any team deserves to benefit from his talent it is the Devil Rays for all that they have had to put up with.
Elijah Dukes owes the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Elijah Dukes owes us. He would never be able to repay his debts if he was helping another franchise win baseball games.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- BJ Upton is likely to be the everyday center fielder once he returns from the disabled list. Upton would remain there until Rocco Baldelli returns from his injury and even then will likely remain the team’s part-time center fielder for the rest of the season. This move means that Ty Wigginton is likely to remain the team’s most-days second baseman. While it is a move normally made during spring training, it will be interesting to see if the team works Akinori Iwamura into a few games as a second baseman down the road this year.
- An in-depth look at Elijah Dukes’ “career.“