Sunday, December 5, 2010

Players to look out for in the reentry draft

On Wednesday MLS will hold the first stage of the new reentry draft process based on the terms of the new CBA between the league and the Players' Union. The players who are eligible for the first stage on Dec 8th are (i) those at least 23 years old who have a minimum of three years' MLS experience whose options were not picked up at the agreed option salary rate (they are listed as "od" for option declined at the bottom of this entry), (ii) players who are at least 25 years old with four years' experience who are out of contract and have not been made a bona fide offer of a new contract at their 2010 salary level (they are listed as "ooc" for "out of contract" at the bottom of this entry), (iii) players who are at least 30 years old with eight years' experience who are out of contract and have not been made a bona fide offer at a minimum level of 105% of 2010 salary (they are also listed as "ooc" for "out of contract" at the bottom of this entry). If players are not happy with reduced terms offered by their existing teams or no new bona fide contract offer has been made they enter a draft process in which a new team can draft them at either their option salary rate if they are in category (i) or at 100% or 105% of their 2010 salary if categories (ii) and (iii) are applicable. The selection order will be the same as that used for waiver drafts based on the end of season finish in 2010 with TFC selecting 6th overall and the Whitecaps 17th based on being an expansion team.

Once the first stage is complete players can still negotiate to try to reach a new deal with their old team. Should that fail to happen there is a second stage on Dec 15th when players can be drafted by a new club and made an offer at a lower rate than their old salary, the new club will then hold the right of first refusal to the player's services if this offer is declined. An interesting quirk is that if all the other clubs decline to select a player then the player's existing club can select the player at this point and can then make a take it or leave it offer. After the second stage players who have not been selected by any club are free to negotiate with any MLS team in future since no club holds their rights at that point. One of the key gains claimed by the Players Union negotiators after the new CBA deal was reached was that the reentry draft should eliminate the kind of contract limbo faced by Dan van den Bergh last season due to the actions of FC Dallas. 

Guillermo Barros Schelotto

The list of players available in the first stage is provided below along with a description of how likely they are to be selected and key stats including age, 2010 base salary, games played, games started and the number of goals scored and assists. There probably isn't going to be all that much activity because the majority of the players available are either those with marginal ability who would normally have been placed on waivers at the end of the season but had too much time served for that to apply this season or are veteran players in their mid-30s, who have a salary number consistent with how they played at the peak of their careers rather than their current contribution to their team's performance level. Many in this latter group are likely to renegotiate to a lower number between the first and second stages once it becomes clear that nobody wants to pick up their existing contract option. The two players who look like the best bargains to me at this point are Schelotto of the Crew, who although 37 years old was productive enough last season to look like a bargain if his option number is still a basic salary of $140k, and Chris Seitz the Union's starting goalkeeper for most of the season if his option number is still $100k. It's difficult to look good playing behind an expansion team's defence so a change of scenery might do wonders in his case.

Juan Pablo Angel

Other high profile players to look out for are Jimmy Conrad who at 33 is still not that old for a defender and could attract interest despite the relatively high price tag of around 250k and Juan Pablo Angel who might be viewed as being worth a one year DP deal. Given TFC had money for Mista and Izaguirre in the last transfer window, for example, Angel might be viewed as a relatively low risk option in that context. Other players with low enough numbers and a reasonable level of performance over the past couple of seasons to be potential targets would be Frankie Hejduk, Richard Mulrooney, Carey Talley, Jovan Kirovski, Cory Gibbs, Adrian Serioux and Khano Smith. It will be interesting to see if Earl Cochrane decides to undo one of Preki's most controversial moves by selecting Adrian Serioux. In addition to Serioux, Cory Gibbs might interest TFC given he is an experienced left-sided defender, who could do a similar job to Nick Garcia's role last season and is available for the same sort of money that Raivis Hscanovics receieved. The recent Nathan Sturgis trade shows that Earl Cochrane has the green light to make significant player acquisitions despite his "interim" tag. While there will probably be scope for Toronto to acquire a worthwhile player with the sixth pick in the first round, Vancouver may find they are left with very slim pickings by the time the 17th selection is reached given the limited number of players that are likely to be selected at this stage of the process.  

Past or present DPs
High - although old the low base salary number should attract interest
Guillermo Schelotto (od) Columbus Crew M-F $140k 37 29GP 29GS 9G 8A (Argentina)

Moderate - although old now might still be seen as worth a one season deal as a DP
Juan Pablo Angel (od) New York Red Bulls F $1 ,620k 35 30GP 29GS 13G 4A (Colombia)

Low - overpaid veteran likely to eventually retire
Claudio Lopez (od) Colorado Rapids F $120k 36 11GP 0GS 0G 0A (Argentina)

Well paid Mr Beens who are 33 years old or over
Moderate - although old now might still be seen as worth a one year deal
Jimmy Conrad (ooc) Sporting Kansas City D $232.8k 33 26GP 26GS 1G 0A (USA) 
Frankie Hejduk (od) Columbus Crew M $120k 36 20GP 20GS 0G 2A (USA)
Richard Mulrooney (od) Houston Dynamo M $120k 34 23GP 19GS 0G 3A (USA)
Carey Talley (od) New York Red Bulls D $100k 34 15GP 13GS 1G 0A (USA) 
Jovan Kirovski (od) Los Angeles Galaxy F $84k 34 21GP 11GS 4G 2A (USA)

Low - overpaid veteran likely to renegotiate to a lower number prior to second stage
Jeff Cunningham (od) FC Dallas F $220k 34 27GP 13GS 11G 1A (USA/Jamaica)
Josh Wolff (od) Sporting Kansas City F $220k 33 25GP 16GS 2G 3A (USA)
Tyrone Marshall (od) Seattle Sounders D $165.4k 36 20GP 14GS 1G 1A (USA/Jamaica)
Gino Padula (od) Columbus Crew D $165 34 15GP 13GA 0G 0A (Argentina)
Pat Onstad (od) Houston Dynamo GK $164k 42 23GP 23GS (Canada/USA)
Jaime Moreno (od) D.C. United F $160 36 21GP 8GS 2G 0A (Bolivia/USA)
Dario Sala (od) FC Dallas GK $160k 36 11GP 10GS (Argentina)
Dema Kovalenko (od) Los Angeles Galaxy M $ 136.5 9GP 8GS 1G 0A (Ukraine)

Middle earners that teams may be trying to chisel down to a lower number
High - likely that another team will be interested
Chris Seitz (od) Philadelphia Union GK $100k 23 23GP 22GS (USA)

Moderate - low enough salary number that a team may still see as useful depth
Cory Gibbs (od) New England Revolution D $121 25GP 25GS 0G 0A (USA)
Adrian Serioux (od) Houston Dynamo D $96k 31 13GP 7GA 2G 1A (Canada)

Low - overpaid player who will have to renegotiate to a lower number prior to second stage
Fred (ooc) Philadelphia Union M-F $250k 31 25GP 24GS 4G 1A (Brazil)
Nick Garcia (od) Toronto FC D $190k 31 23GP 20GS 0G 1A (USA)
Khari Stephenson (od) San Jose Earthquakes M $151.5k 11GP 11GS 1G 1A (Jamaica)
Marcelo Saragosa (od) Chivas USA D-M $130k 28 14GP 9GS 0G 1A (Brazil)
Peter Vagenas (od) Colorado Rapids M $117k 32 7GP 7GS 0G 0A (USA)
Ryan Cochrane (od) Houston Dynamo D $100k 27 12GP 5GS 0G 0A (USA)

Marginal players who have enough time served to avoid the waiver draft
Moderate - low enough salary number that a team may see as useful depth
Khano Smith (od) New England Revolution M-F $50 28 16GP 6GS 0G 1A (Bermuda)

Low - would normally have been on waivers and gone unclaimed in that context
Nico Colaluca (od) New England Revolution M $100 24 1GP 0GS 0G 0A (USA)
Ciaran O'Brien (od) Colorado Rapids M $75k 23 0GP 0GS 0G 0A (USA)
Joseph Ngwenya (od) Houston Dynamo M/F 29 $72k 12GP 6GS 1G 0A (Zimbabwe)
Preston Burpo (od) New England Revolution GK $70 38 11GP 11GS (USA)
Alex Zotinca (od) Chivas USA D $60k 33 1GP 1GS 0G 0A (Romania/USA)
Duncan Oughton (od) Columbus Crew D $40k 33 3GP 0GS 0G 0A (New Zealand)
Aaron Hohlbein (ooc) Sporting Kansas City D $40k 25 2GP 1GS 0G 0A (USA)
Luke Sassano (od) New York Red Bulls M-D $40 25 3GP 2GS 0G 0A (USA)
Chris Sharpe (od) League Goalkeeper GK $40k (USA)

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