Jul 2, 2010, 11:43 AM EDT
Elijah Dukes is a 26-year-old former top prospect with good speed, experience in all three outfield spots, and a .771 OPS in 240 career games, but he’s apparently such a horrible human being that no MLB team is willing to even sign him to a minor-league contract and stash him at Triple-A.
Dukes has been out of work since the Nationals surprisingly released him during spring training and yesterday he signed with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League.
It’s often said in sports that being talented trumps being a bad guy and that’s definitely true for star-caliber players, but Dukes is providing an example of how that isn’t always the case for merely good players. At the very least he’d be a solid, cheap fourth outfielder and could certainly start for plenty of teams, but when the upside is “good regular” rather than “perennial All-Star” the 30 general managers have seemingly decided it’s not worth the hassle. And it’s tough to blame them.
Former big leaguers Willie Banks, Daryle Ward, Edgardo Alfonzo, Scott Spiezio, Brian Barton, and Vince Perkins are also listed on the Newark roster, but here’s the really amazing part: Dukes is now teammates with Carl Everett. I suspect that within the first week they’ll either become inseparable lifelong friends or kill each other following an argument about dinosaurs.
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