Elijah Dukes is now a rapper. And he used to smoke weed before Nats games.

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The guys over at Nationals Enquirer directed my attention to this Tampa Tribune story about former Rays and Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes.  Seems that Dukes is now a rapper known as “Fly Eli.”  He’s got an album ready to drop, as the kids say, and has concerts scheduled and all of that.  Oh, and like Jose Canseco, he believes Major League Baseball has blackballed him:

In several interviews, including one at his home and one at the studio, Dukes talked about how the police are out to get him, the difficulties of being a black athlete in Tampa and how he was “thrown under the bus” by Major League Baseball.

He says he was blackballed by baseball after he came forward last year with allegations that fellow ball players were smuggling drugs onto chartered aircraft, using drugs in hotel rooms after flights and how he would sometimes smoke marijuana before home games when he played for the Washington Nationals.

Maybe Elijah Dukes was exposing wrongdoing.  But Dukes was also given a bunch of chances by Major League Baseball and he always — always — ended up alienating his teammates or worse. There was promise there once, but he was never worth the baggage, and I find it rather hard to believe that baseball went after Elijah Dukes the whistleblower as opposed to simply cutting ties with Elijah Dukes the enormous pain in the ass.

But hey, good luck storming the hip-hop charts, Fly Eli.

Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto reportedly asks to be traded

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Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio is reporting that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade out of Miami. Jon Heyman is characterizing it as Realmuto telling the team that he “wouldn’t mind” a trade.

Either way, Realmuto has no power to force a trade. This isn’t the NBA or something. Still, it’s evidence of just how dreary a prospect remaining in Miami is for Marlins veterans in the wake of trades that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.

Realmuto, who will turn 27 just before the 2018 season, hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season. He only has three years of service time and is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. He made just $562K in the 2017 and will get a big raise this year, but he’s still going to be underpaid based on his production. If the Marlins wanted to trade him, they’d get a nice return. Why they would want to trade him, I have no idea.

Expect more of this sort of thing as the Marlins slash payroll and make it clear that their immediate priorities are more about saving money and less about winning baseball games. Which may or may not be a valid goal for the team’s new owners, but is certainly a letdown for baseball players and fans.