Monday, November 24, 2008

Expansion Draft

As one of six MLS GMs who have participated in expansion drafts, i can tell you that getting the list of unprotected players is a bit like Christmas morning where you don't get all the presents you were hoping for. MLS teams announced their protected and exposed lists today for Seattle's expansion draft.

As usual, the exposed lists were full of veterans underperforming their expensive contracts and young players that have not fulfilled their potential. Some of the deeper teams were forced to expose one or two players that they really do not want to lose.

Terms of engagement include a maximum of one lost player per team and only ten of the 14 teams will lose a player.

Following is a list of the players I would consider choosing from each team along with their 2008 compensation and a note about each:

Toronto - Johann Smith ($47,666.67), young athletic forward whose pace would benefit from the Qwest Stadium artificial surface.

San Jose - Ned Grabavoy ($90,000.00), former New Lenox prodigy still trying to find a good professional fit. An expansion team with a quick surface could be a good situation for the skillful midfielder.

RSL - Dema Kovalenko ($207,618.75), tough, competitive, passionate and expensive veteran...most of those are good qualities.

New York - Chris Leitch ($60,000.00), versatile player who can provide defensive stability and depth.

New England - Khano Smith ($46,305.00), dangerous budget friendly forward with speed and strength who can fly on Seattle's in-fill surface.

Los Angeles - Mike Randolph ($33,000.00), probably wouldn't select anyone from the once proud Galaxy, but if I did, I would add back line speed with Randolph.

KC - Abe Thompson ($33,000.00), again, I probably wouldn't add anyone from the Wizards, but Thompson always seems to add a spark off the bench, so he may be worth a flyer.

Houston - Nate Jaqua ($174,125.00), this deal was done months ago and will be a great situation for the Portland native to return home to the Pacific Northwest.

DC - Quavas Kirk ($136,500.00), probably wouldn't take anyone from DC, though Kirk would be tempting if not for his six figure salary.

Dallas - no one, really, there's not a single exposed player I would want on my expansion team from FC Dallas.

Columbus - Eddie Gaven ($165,000.00), no surprise that the best team in MLS was forced to expose a player they'd prefer not to lose.

Colorado - Preston Burpo ($55,116.18), Kasey Keller will need a veteran backup who won't sulk about his backup status and Burpo would handle the return to Seattle well, where he starred with the USL Sounders.

Chicago Fire - Marco Pappa ($33,000.00), I'm guessing that Pappa's loan deal includes some sort of poison pill that would give the Fire confidence that Seattle won't select him, because Pappa is a young, dynamic and talented future star that the team doesn't want to lose.

Chivas USA - Ante Razov ($258,750.00), his age, high salary, injury risk and aversion to artificial grass are all good reasons not to pick Ante, but he's still a very good MLS forward, competitive and worth the risk.

The 2008 salaries of the ten players I would choose add up to $1,137,582. Some of their 2009 salaries would be higher and some would be lower.

Check out the exposed lists here and tell me who you would pick.


Toaddio said...

Great list.

soundersfan said...

Preston Burpo, no. We have our own current USL keeper, Chris Eylander, he is definitely going to get the backup role, no need for a third keeper at this point.

Ryan said...


You're a good guy and all, but Aaron Pitchkolan and Ray Burse are both good enough to start in MLS.

Burse is better than Thornton, Sutton and whomever LA trotted out.

Pitchkolan should have started down the stretch for Dallas. I think he's better than Hohlbein or Wahl. (and they're all better than Davino)

Anonymous said...


Your list is woefully lacking in defense, a position at which Sounders FC have no players under contract.

Don't you think they need a few defenders? If not the MLS-quality types exposed in this draft, then where would you get them?

peter said...

Good point about need for defenders, though the SuperDraft, trades and international signings and allocations can all be used to strengthen the back. Burse being better than Thornton and Sutton doesn't mean Seattle should take him..especially with Keller (and apparently Eylander) already in goal. And Pitchkolan being better than Wahl and Hohlbein similarly doesn't mean they make the grade for me either.

Chris said...

I've read a lot of positive things about Rohan Ricketts. He's expensive, but pretty young.

Any thoughts on him?

Anonymous said...

Quavis Kirk is out of contract and most likely won't be making 6 figures anywhere next year.

peter said...

Good info on Quavas. Rohan has always come with great expectations, but hasn't been able to quite live up to them. He's older and more expensive than Johann Smith and he would take up an international slot for SSFC, so i think i'd prolly stick with Smith for my TFC selection.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong about Pitchkolan for FC Dallas. Not only will Seattle take him, they'll take him early.

peter said...

You may be right about Pitchkolan being picked, but i don't think it's a matter of early, middle or late. With only one team picking, the "order" of picks is kind of meaningless. In fact, i believe they could simply submit a list of ten names.

Aaron's a low budget player ($33k in 2008) and as was previously mentioned, i don't have many defensive players among my picks.

peter said...

The picks are in and here they are:

Expansion Draft.

1. Nate Jaqua (Houston Dynamo)
2. Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake)
3. Jeff Parke (New York Red Bulls)
4. Jarrod Smith (Toronto FC)
5. Khano Smith (New England Revolution)
6. Peter Vagenas (Los Angeles Galaxy)
7. Tyson Wahl (Kansas City Wizards)
8. James Riley (New England Revolution)
9. Stephen King (Chicago Fire)
10. Brad Evans (Columbus Crew)

Only two of my picks (Khano Smith and Nate Jaqua) matched Sigi's...i mean Chris and Adrian's. i can't fault the other eight however.

Chicago's Stephen King instead of Pappa was likely due to the reported salary increase that would have accompanied the Costa Rican. Evans instead of Gaven was probably due to Eddie's potential departure to Europe

As a group, Seattle's selection of James Riley, Tyson Wahl, Jeff Parke, Pete Vagenas and Nathan Sturgis instead of my choices of Dema Kovalenko, Ned Grabavoy, Ante Razov, Preston Burpo and Chris Leitch save money, add youth and needed defensive depth and provide one or two tradeable assets.

And with Toronto they apparently simply preferred their J. Smith to my J. Smith.

No Aaron Pitchkolan or any FC Dallas player for that matter. It pleases me that they agreed they are better off w/o any Dallas players! :-)