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Andy Behrens

Nats GM: 'We are open for business'

Andy Behrens
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Like Lastings Milledge(notes) before him, Elijah Dukes(notes) was shipped to Triple-A on Wednesday. Austin Kearns(notes) is out of options, so Dukes gets the trip to Syracuse.

Washington is putting on a clinic in how to reduce the trade value of young, talented outfielders -- and the 25-year-old Dukes is clearly on the block. This from MLB.com's Bill Ladson:

The Nationals have been unhappy with their outfielders for quite some time. They have come to the conclusion that Adam Dunn(notes) and Josh Willingham(notes) belong in the American League as designated hitters ...

Really? Stunning. Let's continue:

... and Elijah Dukes makes too many fundamental mistakes. ... Rizzo is far from done in terms of making deals. He is looking for a starting shortstop. The Nationals feel that Cristian Guzman(notes), who is on the trade block, has lost a few steps. ... The team is also looking to trade Dukes, and that may be hard to do because he comes with a lot of off-the-field baggage. Who they want for Dukes is not known.

Dukes went 2-for-3 with a run scored last night, and he gunned down another base-runner. (Video here. Close play, nice throw). But he's struggled since returning from a hamstring injury (.586 OPS in June) and the Nats are playing .293 baseball, so they're out of patience. The future apparently belongs to Nyjer Morgan(notes) and Willie Harris(notes).

Ladson also reports that Washington GM Mike Rizzo offered the following quote while announcing the Milledge/Morgan deal:

"We are open for business."

Maybe that's just irrational enthusiasm for the 29-year-old Morgan, but it sure seems like a clear signal that the trading desk is open. If you're an NL-only owner with Dunn or Guzman on the roster, beware.

Nationals Park has been a pitcher-friendly environment this year (with a disappointing food and beverage selection) and the team now finds itself in the bottom half of the league in runs scored (329). If position players leave via trade, they aren't likely to lose fantasy value.

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Photo via Getty Images, dawg. I ain't even [expletive].

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