Tuesday, November 11, 2014

MLS OFFSEASON: Go Ahead and Put Sticks of Dynamite Under Your Roster

The MLS offseason is here! Yes it's true. I know the playoffs are underway but look below (and here) as MLS actually lists the MLS Cup Final as part of the league offseason. Supporters' Shield winners are the true champs after all.

With that, here's the list of offseason MLS events coming up. My comments are highlighted in Blue. I didn't put in anything about the new CBA that should get banged out this winter. It's sort of a wildcard right now. I think both sides are sort of hesitant to approach it, which bodes well for the investors and not the players.

2014-15 MLS Offseason Calendar

November 19, 2014
MLS Dispersal Draft for Chivas USA. Erick Torres will not be part of it, just because. There are some good players to be had here but the whole thing is just icky. Teams are not allowed to just bid on players because MLS feels like they have to control everything in order to control costs like this is professional sports circa 1973. It's not. MLS brass making money by not letting others compete for players. 

December 7, 2014
MLS Cup Final. I was asked the other day if the Columbus Crew season had started. Also, as mentioned above, 

December 8, 2014
Half-day Trade Window. Open 9 am ET - 1 pm ET. Teams may trade during that window or may re-sign their own players. Blackout period starts at 1 pm ET, runs through the MLS Expansion Draft. I think (Managing Editor of Massive Report, Patrick Gulden notes contracts might end 12/31), that MLS contracts end on Dec. 1 each year. What this means is that teams have a week to figure out what to do with out of contract players. For the Crew that means Justin Meram, Eric Gehrig and Bernardo Anor (that I know of). If they aren't picked up by this date, means they are likely moving on.

December 10, 2014
MLS Expansion Draft. Oh boy! Orlando City and NY City FC get to pluck away at every other team's roster. Combine this with the salary cap (player yr over yr salary increases over shooting incremental cap limit) - and you get why this is the worst thing in the world.

December 10, 2014
Trade Window opens at the end of Expansion Draft; closes on December 11, 2014, at 5 pm ET. Okay.

December 10, 2014
MLS Waiver Draft. This is where a lot of MLS minutes wind up. It's the mid-roster guys that make more than that warm body about to come in from college land.

December 12, 2014
MLS Re-entry Draft, Phase One. More experienced MLS talent. I expect more activity within this mechanism because of the success DC United had this year.

December 12, 2014
Trade Window opens at the end of Re-entry Draft Phase One; closes on December 17, 2014, at 11 am ET. Another trade window. Got it. Okay.

December 18, 2014
MLS Re-entry Draft, Phase Two. Just to be sure, we need another phase. Come on people. We have guys ready to go, here. Yeah, maybe more money but still though.

December 18, 2014
Trade Window opens at the end of Re-entry Draft Phase Two. Starting to feel like this list is more for team administrators than fans. 

January 2-5, 2015
MLS Caribbean Combine. Good players in the Caribbean but mostly... Woohoo! More time for CONCACAF leaders to spend on the beaches during winter. Not sure they should be doing a lot of that these days though, Chuck Blazer and all

January 9-13, 2015
MLS Combine. Going to stop being an old grouch here and say that I like the combine, or any showcase event for that matter. I just wish teams could sign players then and there.

January 15, 2015
MLS SuperDraft... and I'm done.

Not sure many will be following the events listed above as they happen over the next few months but I wanted to list it. I do not believe it has to be this complicated for each individual team within the single entity structure - but MLS insists on doing it this way. Were MLS just admit that they act as the parent "club" of 20 individual outlets it'd be a whole lot simpler. Maybe we'll get that next offseason.

One thing is for certain, and this goes for most domestic pro sports in the US, each season is a discrete event. Meaning: There is no such thing as re-building or re-loading or re-whatever. If you ever read something along those lines, throw it out. Each year is a new slate in MLS. It's just a matter of how the brain trust in charge of your favorite team approaches the ever changing competitive rules that particular MLS season.

Not listed above are the various European transfer windows opening up around the start of January.

Did I mention that MLS has a CBA to work out this offseason?

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