Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rapids 2009

The credit for this topic goes to Dan, who suggested I take a look at what kind of salary room the Rapids are likely to have next year

While not dismissing our playoff chances I wanted to take a look at the rapids salary situation next year. Colorado looks like it will have some real room to play with, given the likelihood of players leaving or being moved. This all has to be taken with a caveat though, namely the coaching situation. What Gary Smith is doing now may not be what he, or another coach, wants to do in the long-term. Right now Smith is the leading candidate for the job though, so let's assume he's going to continue using the team as he's currently using them.

Minutes under Smith in the 6 games since he was officially named interim coach:

As you can see, a pretty established starting 11 has appeared:
Kimura - Petke - Gibbs - Harvey
Cooke - LaBrocca - Clark
Casey - Cummings

McManus and Ballouchy have been the super subs off the bench, while Erpen and DiRaimondo have gotten some limited playing time as subs. Everyone else on the list has either gotten limited playing time, or had run outs as starters and lost their starting places.

That gives us a pretty good core of players to start analyzing our salary cap for 2009, If we use the 2008 Salary Cap info we can figure out how much is likely to free up. Herculez Gomez is still on that list, but Cory Gibbs is not. Odds are Gibbs is making more than Herculez, but we'll call it a wash for now.

Here's a list of the unused "first-teamers" and their salaries:
Burciaga Jose D $ 80,000.00
Coundoul Bouna GK $ 33,000.00
Erpen Facundo D $ 125,000.00
Gomez Christian M $ 385,000.00
Ihemelu Ugo D $ 60,500.00
Peterson Jacob F $ 75,000.00

That's a bit over $750,000 in first-team salary that we aren't using. I expect Burciaga, Erpen, Peterson, and maybe Ihemelu will be exposed in the expansion draft and then cut or traded. I could see keeping Ihemelu and/or Peterson for depth, but they'll really have to work to earn their spot under the new coach. Bouna Time! is out of contract I think, and unless Smith is really :riding the hot hand" in Burpo it seems like he's going to look elsewhere for keeping. We may trade his rights to another MLS team or he may go to another league. Christian Gomez is the big question mark. Smith isn't using him, at times subbing in Ballouchy or Dalby into the central midfield instead of Gomez. To me that says that Gomez isn't in his plans. However we just signed him to a new contract that's going to make him hard to trade. We probably will either keep him and not use him, or trade him and eat part of his salary.

Who else might we see gone next year?

Pablo is out of contract and has repeatedly talked about going to Europe. Rumors are that he already has offers from Spain but he's holding out for a team in Serie A. One way or another, there's a good chance he's gone.

Mastroeni Pablo M-D $ 300,000.00

Most players who come to MLS get 2 year contracts with option years held by the team/league. If that was the case with Conor Casey, his guaranteed contract is up this year. I expect the Rapids will keep him, but try to re-sign him at a lower rate instead of picking up the option. As good as his play has been the last couple of games, he has yet to produce like a 200K forward.

Casey Conor F $ 190,008.00

Everyone else is pretty much either established themselves as a regular player, or is making under 50K. We'll see some churn in the reserves and fringe first-teamers, but nothing to really free up salary cap. That leaves us with a best/worst case scenario

Worst Case - We keep Gomez, we keep Casey at current salary, and we can't find a taker for Burciaga

600K freed up

Best Case - We trade Gomez and only have to eat about 100K of salary, we sign Casey for 140K, and the extra odds and ends are all traded or cut

Little over 1 million freed up

So we're looking at somewhere between 25% and 40% of the current cap number being freed up for use next year. Not only that, but the only regular starter we have to replace with that money would be Pablo. That gives us a good deal of room to look for improvements instead of filling holes.


JD said...

next years team should look very different. You wouldn't happen to be able to tell me Cookies situation would you?

Jason Maxwell said...

No, I don't know Cooke's contract status

Anonymous said...

Is all that after Kirovski's, Herc's, Gomes', and Gargan?

I know we still had Kirovski's contract, but another team was also picking up Casey's contract.

Jason Maxwell said...

No, this just represents the difference between what we're paying now (or at least in August when the most recent set of salary figures were released) vs. what we'll probably be paying next year. It does not include however much we're currently under the cap.

Toronto only paid Casey's contract last year, we're on the hook for all of it this year according to reports. It was never announced how much of Kirovski's contract we're currently paying, and since this is his last contract year I just left that out.