Elijah Dukes has not been in the starting lineup since news came out that he would soon be the father of his sixth kid by five different women, and this time it was with a 17 year old foster child. While what Elijah did was not against Florida law, it just became one more thing that Elijah and the Rays had to answer about. While Elijah does not want to speak to the media, and honestly I understand his position on why, his ex-wife has been more than happy to come out and talk about the situation. Now i know the Rays are trying to figure out what to do, but they need to do it fast for Elijah's sake.
One can understand that the Rays are in a very difficult position here. The Rays are taking heat from all sides in this situation. The media and many fans want Elijah off of the team and he would be gone by now if it was up to them. On the other hand there is the MLBPA, which is not going to let them cut him for these transgressions and also there are still many fans who believe in Elijah and are calling for the Rays to help. Meanwhile the Rays have decided to bench Elijah while they are on this road trip during inter league play and only pinch hitting him for the pitcher when that is needed. Elijah cannot be happy about this and i for one have seen him pissed about this the first day he was benched. The Rays need to understand that Dukes still has friends on this team and by stretching out this situation they are only hurting chemistry on the team and allowing others to start to be angry with the Rays front office.
We know that there has been interest in Dukes by other teams and I think that may be the best thing for Dukes at this time. Dukes grew up in this area and maybe a change of scenery will help him out. Right now Dukes and his family are under a microscope and anything they do will be scrutinized and it is easy to find out anything you want about him because everyone in Tampa knows something about him. Dukes and his family would benefit from a trade to another team and another town. The Rays need to help make this happen by trading him. The Rays need to realize though that they will not get what they perceive as value for Dukes at this time due to his off the filed problems, lack of playing time, and he is slumping right now when he does play. I think that the pressure and stress is getting to Elijah and he just needs to be traded. The Rays can help him and I think that would be the best thing for both sides. Whatever the Rays do it will be ridiculed by some and praised by others.
For those interested in hearing both sides of the Elijah Dukes situation click on the 620 WDAE link on my site and go to there podcasts. Sign up on the site, its free, and check out the on and Ian podcasts. They have interviews from both sides of this situation, listen to both and remember the truth is somewhere in the middle.