Tuesday, February 4, 2020

There Will Never Be Another Trapp

Wil Trapp was unceremoniously sent to the expansion side Miami last Friday. The deal was shockingly one-sided in favor of Miami as they only gave up a bit of allocation money and an international slot for one of the most consistent Defensive Mids in MLS.

These types of deals are usually seen when you have a player with a bad attitude or just simply wants out. While Trapp did appear frustrated at many points last season, I don't think it drifted into "bad attitude" territory. I think he likely wanted out. Caleb Porter, being Caleb Porter, probably wanted to teach him a bit of a lesson as the walked out the door. No inside info, just my two cents.

He checked off all the boxes as far as accomplishments in MLS and with the USMNT. He won an Eastern Conference Playoff trophy, played in a final at home, and became Captain of the Men's National Team under Gregg Berhalter. That's quite a career for any player.

There are criticisms. He's a bit slow. Maybe too conservative in his passing. He doesn't like to get forward. Against higher quality competition he would sometimes look pretty bad, giving off the appearance of a concrete ceiling.

There was also his value to the team him challenging himself. These two, in particular, have been my sticking points with him for years.

In an alternate universe, Wil moved overseas before the age of 21. Spain, most likely, fits his game the best. But time in England would have made him a little more hungry, aggressive. I saw him playing overseas until around the age of 28 (where he is now) and coming back to MLS via a nice fee and $1-2 million dollar salary.

Instead, he stuck it out in his hometown. Whether that was Mark McCullers, Gregg Berhalter, or whoever making decisions during that time refused to sell him or it was just Trapp being picky about his landing place. We'll never really know.

In the decade of the 2010's, Trapp played the most postseason minutes with 1440. Over that same period, he was 2nd only to Higuain in total minutes (17,374). Put another way, he was rock solid and you'd be safe buying his jersey.

There's no hiding the fact that I, and others that have written here at Helltown wanted him to move on from Columbus when he was in his early 20s. Fact is though, he didn't and the career he had here was nice. But there are many other things that make him a special player in Crew land.

You rarely, if ever, get a local player of his quality playing on his hometown team. On top of that, he (and his family) are wonderful people. Everyone here seems to know them. Lastly, he's a really good dude. All these things add up to a great person. And it's in that, where you see his true quality and value.

If you've followed this blog over the last decade, you know that I dig pretty deep on player evaluations and other measurements. Often using player comparisons like "player Y is similar to player X." I do that because there is almost always another similar player.

But in all my time and all my damn spreadsheets, I never found another player like Trapp because of the rarity of what he is as a person and what that means to the team. His stats? KPs, recoveries, tackles, etc? Yes, plenty similar. But add in the local kid making it big all the way to the NT (where is salary was often a mere fraction of his teammates)? No.

There will never be another player like Wil Trapp in Columbus.

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