Some details on Dukes
OK we just had someone with knowledge of the situation explain how this went down. Indeed, Stan Kasten and Jim Bowden had an off-site meeting this morning at a hotel near the airport with Elijah Dukes. Also present, according to the source, was Dmitri Young, who has some personal knowledge of Dukes because his younger brother Delmon was with Dukes in Tampa - they rose through the system there, and were supposed to be the offensive players around which the Rays were supposed to be built.
In return, it appears the Nationals are yielding only a "player to be named later." That's what one official with knowledge of the talks told me. Tampa needs a roster spot (though former National Josh Wilson was just claimed off waivers). The buzz does not seem to be that the Nats will be giving up anything of significant value. This is a "take-a-troubled-player-off-the-hands-of-another-team" deal, it seems.
This morning's meeting was obviously to discuss character, struggles, etc. Get past that for one second, though, and listen to what Dan Jennings, the scout who originally signed Dukes with Tampa, just told Sheinin:
"I think it's probably a good move for the kids. He is extremely talented. He has every tool you'd want, with good up-side still there. I think it's good for him and his career to get out of the Tampa area."
Jim Bowden obviously has a history with reclamation projects (see his most recent: Young, Dmitri) and likes giving second chances. But I asked one official what they do now with four starting-caliber outfielders - Kearns, Pena, Milledge and Dukes. "You can't have too much," the guy said. "You always need more."
This will be very interesting to see how the Nationals frame this addition.
We do know that they have been keeping tabs on Dukes. Tim Tolman, the third base coach, is Dukes's coach in winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Dukes had no problems down there - until the other night, when he was ejected and got in the face of an umpire. Still, Tolman has been vouching for Dukes, and I have talked to three people today who saw him play down there and said he was just phenomenal.
Meeting with club officials is in 90 minutes. I'll get you as much as I can before and after.