Monday, November 24, 2008
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.