Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Crew SC Roster Moves

The deadline for MLS teams to pick up player options passed last week on December 1st. Teams making the final were given extensions (although it looks like a handful teams used the extra week to decide / announce).

Columbus posted theirs yesterday, less than 24 hours after they hosted the MLS Cup Final. Mile high view: ~20% was trimmed from both the overall budget as well as the "cap."

$5.6m : Total Budget YE 2015
$4.5m : Total current Budget

$4.2m : "Cap" number
$3.4m : Current "Cap" after roster moves

Options Not Exercised:

Matt Lampson, GK, $60k
Emanuel Pogatetz, CB, 263k
Kristinn Steindorsson, MF, 119k
Ben Speas, MF, 68k

Out of Contract, Negotiating:

Jack McInerney, F, $334k
Kevan George, DM, 60k
Aaron Schoenfeld, F, 60k

NOTES: Four down-roster players from the previous ownership group (Lampson, Speas, George, Schoenfeld) and three "in the 18" from the current (Pogatetz, Steindorsson, McInerney) appear to be moving on their way. It's strange to see George and Schoenfeld under the "negotiating" category as they are already at the league minimum. McInernery's contract (likely prorated this past year) is one they might be trying to work down. Something that doesn't happen often in MLS.

Players Currently Under Contract, 2016:

Federico Higuain - $118k
Gaston Sauro - 600k
Kei Kamara - 537k
Michael Parkhurst - 300k
Cedrick Mabwati - 254k
Tony Tchani - 195k
Steve Clark - 188k
Justin Meram - 175k
Waylon Francis - 170k
Wil Trapp - 165k
Harrison Afful - 150k
Ethan Finlay - 143k
Mohammed Saeid - 110k
Hector Jimenez - 90k
Chris Klute - 88k
Ben Swanson - 80k
Romain Gall - 63k
Brad Stuver - 60k
Chad Barson - 60k
Sergio Campbell - 53k

NOTES: So far so good for Gregg Berhalter and team in regards to maintaining a solid core from the successful 2015 team. The only risks I see between now and the start of next year come in the form of the January transfer window. MLS is notorious for not allowing free movement of players to other leagues, but Crew SC could have a few players in that group. Sauro, Kamara lead the list. Meram, Mabwati, Francis and Afful are internationals that likely have some options. In the youth category, you've got Swanson and Gall who have value.

What's next for MLS rosters are a series of drafts (waiver and re-entry) throughout the month of December. A new twist this year is there is a class of "free agents" out there that meet the most recent CBA qualifiers of being 28 years old and have 8 years experience. MLS is a single entity so it is certainly a strange mechanism they have introduced.

First MLS "Free Agent" Class:

Looking over the list, I can see why the league agreed to it. It's mostly durable US based players who are overpaid mainly due to the fact they have survived and still pull a check in the single entity system (incremental increases year to year). My hunch is that these guys will be negotiating down, which is sort of the opposite of what the union expected.

"Rating" (far right column) comes from my own player rating system I've used since 2011. It's driven by (but not just) playing time and team results - obvious theory being; playing more on good teams means you are good. It's scaled 0-10, so a score of 5 is average, 10 is best. It is based on this season only.

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