Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rapids Lose Two, Gain One In Today's Drafts

MLS had two drafts today, the expansion draft for NYCFC and Orlando and the Waiver Draft for all the waived players in the league.

In the expansion draft the Rapids, surprisingly, lost two players including the 3rd overall pick in Tony Cascio to Orlando.  Colorado pulled Marc Burch off the table after Cascio was selected.  Later in the draft Orlando also selected Danny Mwanga.  Overall probably a decent result for the Rapids.  Losing Cascio hurts but removing any chance of Mwanga returning is a huge plus.  We also kept Eloundou and Neeksens which I was concerned about losing.

After the expansion draft the Rapids had the 3rd pick in the waiver draft and selected center-back Bobby Burling, formally with Chivas USA.  Burling entered the league out of college in 2007 and played with Chivas through mid-2009 when he was traded to San Jose.  He was selected by Montreal in the 2011 expansion draft but was immediately traded to Chivas USA where he played through last season.  He averaged 16 appearances a season in his second stint with Chivas.  While in college he played with the PDL Colorado springs Blizzrd, so he's familiar with the area.

That gives us Burling, Moor, and O'Neill at CB, with a Knight signing presumably coming.  I wouldn't be shocked to see us pick up one more CB due to Moor's recovery from his ACL injury and the likelihood that he won't be 100% ready to start the season.  This would also give O'Neill some freedom to move up to his preferred defensive midfield position, especially if Jose Mari leaves.

Monday, December 8, 2014

As Expected, Busy Day For The Rapids

In the short 4 hour trade window this morning the Rapids made two trades, then released their protected list for the expansion draft.

The first move was acquiring Michael Harrington from Portland for allocation money.  Harrington is a 28 year old right back who can play on the left as well.  He spent 6 seasons in KC averaging about 25 appearances a season before moving to Portland for the last two years, making 58 appearances.  Harrington made 125K in Portland last season.

I think this was a solid move by the Rapids.  Getting a steady MLS right back fills in for the out of contract Wynne at a lower cost and frees Klute up to focus on the left side.  We have no idea how much allocation money it cost us but given our hit (Jose Mari, more on that later) and miss (Zat Knight, again more later) track record with internationals its probably good we stuck with a known quantity.

The second move today was sending Joe Nasco and our third round pick in next month's draft to New England for international strikers Dimitry Imbongo (Congo) and Geoffry Castillion (Netherlands) and New England's 2nd round pick next month.

This was clearly a salary dump for NE as Castillion was signed to a 329K contract in August and made 1 appearance for the club.  Imbongo has been in New England for two years, scoring 4 goals in 32 appearances and tying a MLS record with 3 red cards in one season (2013).  He made 123K last year.  This also gives the Revs flexibility in their international count for their protected list.

I don't know what to think about this trade.  I like the swap of draft picks for Nasco, considering he had no future here.  Imbongo might be a decent pick-up if he can cool his hot head.  Castillion looks like an anchor at that salary though.  The good news is that both Imbongo and Castillion (as well as Nasco) had their 2014 options declined so we're not tied to them at their current salaries.

After all of that the Rapids released their expansion draft list:

Protected Homegrown Players: Armstrong, Calvert, O'Neill, Serna
Protected Generation Adidas Player: Hairston
Protected Players: Brown, Harrington, Irwin, Klute, Knight, LaBrocca, Moor, Powers, Sanchez, Torres, Watts

That leaves the following players unprotected and available for NYCFC or Orlando to select on Wednesday:
Agbossomounde, Alvarez, Berner, Buddle, Burch, Cascio, Castillion, Eloundou, Hill, Imbongo, Jose Mari, Mullan, Mwanga, Neeskens, Piermayr, Van De Casteele, Wynne

The big surprise is seeing Jose Mari unprotected but today's announcement also included the information that he's looking to go back to Spain in this offseason.  Other than that there are no real surprises, but I don't fully agree.  IMO I'd swap out Knight, LaBrocca, and Watts for Cascio, Eloundou, and Neeskens.  Knight didn't show enough for his cost in his four appearances.  If LaBrocca is important enough for us to protect we're not a good MLS team and need to get better.  Watts was just bad last season and while young, I'd rather risk him being taken than one of the other three.

Labrocca is the only player not under contract we protected while Berner, Burch, Cascio, Eloundou, and Neeskens are under contract for next season but unprotected.

Tomorrow should be quiet as the trade window is closed until after Wednesday's expansion draft.  If the Rapids do have somebody selected they'll be able to protect 1 more player.  My list would be Eloundou, then Cascio.  At most they can lose two players on Wednesday.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Go Revs!

I know I've been quiet the last couple of weeks but there's been almost nothing going on in Rapids land.  Pablo visiting Karanka at Middlesbrough for some coaching education is the extent of the news since the release of the declined contract options.  Next week will be busy though with the release of the expansion draft protected players tomorrow or Tuesday, the expansion draft for NYCFC and Orlando on Wednesday and the first phase of the re-entry draft on Friday, with the second phase the following Thursday.  Its also rumored that we'll see the 2015 schedule in the next couple of weeks.

Until then though I just wanted to show some support for the Revolution in today's MLS Cup.  Jermaine Jones is my favorite current Nat and the Midnight Riders are the best group of non-Rapids fans in the league.  They deserve to finally win a championship.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rapids Make Roster Moves

It was cut day in Commerce City apparently as the Rapids released the names of the players who will not have their options picked up for 2015.  Now that does not mean these players won't be with the team in 2015, some of them may sign new contracts at a lower number, but most of them will be elsewhere.  The list:

Gale Agbossoumonde
Carlos Alvarez
Davy Armstrong
Edson Buddle
Kamani Hill
Nick LaBrocca
Danny Mwanga
Joe Nasco
Thomas Piermayr
Grant Van De Casteele
Marvell Wynne

I'm a little surprised that they cut Alvarez, he's a young player with some talent.  Hopefully he's one of the players they're renegotiating with.  Happy to see Buddle and Mwanga on the list, that's a lot of salary freed up.  I wouldn't be shocked to see Wynne renegotiate, we went through this a couple of years ago and he came back.  Along with the retiring Mullan that's about $1.4 million in 2014 guaranteed compensation off the roster.

The Rapids also announced today that they picked up Tony Cascio's option for 2015 and Houston announced they were not going to make the loan deal permanent so Cascio will be part of the Rapids roster going forward.  He was guaranteed $105K this year.

So this is the current Rapids roster as we head into the expansion draft:

John Berner (GK)
Deshorn Brown (F)
Mark Burch (D)
Caleb Calvert (F)
Tony Cascio (F)
Charles Eloundou (F)
Marlon Hairston (M)
Clint Irwin (GK)
Chris Klute (D)
Zat Knight (D)
Jose Mari (M)
Drew Moor (D)
John Neeskens (D)
Shane O'Neill (D)
Dillon Powers (M)
Vicente Sanchez (M)
Dillon Serna (M)
Gabriel Torres (F)
Jared Watts (M)

We also got confirmation that Hairston, O'Neill, and Serna will be automatically protected in the expansion draft as GA and homegrown players.  No word on Calvert who was a homegrown player for Chivas USA and we've seen the homegrown designation stick with a player when he moves.  Those three plus the eleven players we get to protect leaves us with five to expose, only three of which can be internationals.

My choices to expose would be Berner, Burch, Knight, Watts and Neeskens.  If Calvert is auto-protected then that gives us another player to protect and I'd protect Neeskens.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rapids Add Caleb Calvert From Chivas USA Dispersal Draft

Today the former Chivas USA players were dispersed through a draft to other MLS teams.  The draft order was set through a farce of a random draw where the playoff teams got 1 ball (or envelope in this case) and the non-playoff teams got two.  The top 5 picks still went to playoff teams.  Colorado selected eighth.

With their pick Colorado took forward Caleb Calvert.  Calvert is a young (he turns 18 on Saturday) target forward who was a Chivas USA homegrown player.  He hasn't had any first-team playing time but has played in Chivas' academy and with their reserve team.  He was the U15/16 national player of the year in 2012-13 after scoring 22 goals for the Chivas USA Development Academy team.

There's no indication if Calvert will keep his homegrown status or not.  players can keep their statuses when traded (Josh Janniere for example) so it wouldn't be surprising if he did.  The projections are that Calvert isn't expected to contribute in 2015 but 2016 is realistic.  I would assume he would spend most of next season in Charlotte getting USL playing time.  If he doesn't retain his homegrown status he might be a target for Orlando or NYCFC in the expansion draft next month, so we may need to protect him.

Overall a good pick by the Rapids.  The only downside is that its another youth project to add to a large stable of youth projects, but I still like the choice.