Wednesday, December 28, 2011
This actually happened before Christmas but I haven't gotten a chance to mention it. Baggio Husidic, who's rights the Rapids acquired in the Re-Entry Draft, has decided to decline Colorado's contract offer and instead sign with Hammarby IF in Sweden. Former U.S. Nats player Gregg Berhalter was recently named manager of the AEG-owned club and this will probably be the first of multiple signings from MLS for the team. Assuming the Rapids extended a bona fide offer to Husidic they will retain his rights should he return to MLS.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Busy day in Commerce City as the organization has a new face, a returning face, and a promoted face.
Let's start with the roster moves. In today's re-entry draft the Rapids selected Chicago midfielder Baggio Husidic and Houston defender Hunter Freeman. Husidic is a 24 year old former Generation Adidas player who's been with Chicago since leaving college 3 years ago. He's made 50 appearances with the Fire, scoring 5 goals.
Long-time Rapids fans will remember Hunter Freeman. He was drafted by Colorado as a Generation Adidas player in 2005 and made 47 appearances with the team. In early 2007 he was traded to NY for draft picks, then went to Toronto and IK Start in Norway before ending up with Houston last year. Colorado has 7 days to reach a contract agreement with the players.
This afternoon the Rapids announced that Chief Marketing Officer Tim Hinchey has been promoted to Team President, filling the role left by Jeff Plush last week. Hinchey has been Rapids CMO for the last year and before that he spent 3 years as Vice President of Commercial Operations for Derby County in England. He's also worked for the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats and New Orleans Hornets.
I'm of mixed feeling about this move. His history shows him to be much more of a sports guy than Jeff Plush was before he took the job, something I would hope to be a positive. At the same time this is the guy who Gary Smith butted heads with over player moves, an odd position for a CMO to be in. He's also the same person that said, at two different times this season, we would have a jersey sponsor very shortly and yet the Rapids still don't have one. Not what you want to see from your CMO. I think the only move is to take a wait and see position on this one. He's got a big decision to start off on in picking a head coach. How he handles the relationships that Jeff Plush made with the Supporters Groups will also be something to watch.
I've got holiday family obligations starting later this week, so I may be slow to react to any news that comes out. I'll try to keep everyone updated as much as possible though.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Colorado announced this afternoon that Managing Director Jeff Plush is leaving the club. Depending on which report or rumor you believe Plush either resigned (ESPN), amicably split (press release), or was fired (poster's inside sources). Regardless the Rapids will now need to find a new Managing Director and a new Head Coach.
The timing of this move is odd at best. If KSE made the decision, why would you remove somebody that you've had interviewing new head coaches as recently as last week? You were hoping to get a new coach in place in the next two weeks, but what are the odds of hiring a coach before you hire a Managing Director? The offseason now turns into chaos as the Rapids need to find a Managing Director, and then the new Director will have to find a coach. And the Superdraft is just 37 days away, with Christmas and New Year's between here and there. I hope this wasn't a sudden decision due to something happening in Jeff's personal life. Regardless of your opinion of his work nobody should have to deal with something like that.
Making this move is a good one for the Rapids. I thought Plush would be out after last year, until we made our MLS Cup run. With the exception of the new stadium bounce in 2007, attendance dropped every year under Plush between 2006 and 2009, then barely stabilized in 2010. We never found a jersey sponsor, even when adding the opportunity to be seen in CCL, despite repeated promises. Outside of the playoff run to MLS Cup last year the team was average every year Plush was in charge, only making the playoffs half the time. Generally this is not the image of a team moving forward, more just standing still. That's not what you want to see in a sports organization.
On a personal note I'm going to miss Jeff. As you can see I was not impressed by the results of his leadership but he was always willing to take the time to talk to me or answer my emails. I remember ripping into the organization in an email to him when once again we lost a "coin flip" to host a U.S. Open Cup qualifier, only to find out 30 minutes later that this is the one time the coin flip was recorded. I emailed him again with egg on my face but he just let it go and never brought it up again. Jeff seemed like a person who was really trying to do the right thing, but never had the resources to figure out and do it.
In the end though, the new Managing Director will have the same issues Plush had, mainly a parent organization that doesn't care about the team. KSE isn't going to change the budget or suddenly make the Rapids the jewel in the crown of their sports holdings. Some new blood with new ideas should be good but in the long run the Rapids are still working under the same constraints as always.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
The Denver Post is reporting that the Rapids have re-signed Brian Mullan to a multi-year deal. No details on amount or length, but I'm sure those will leak in the coming days. The article also mentions that they're working on a new contract for Steven Emory, and that they would like to re-sign Danny Earls and Miguel Comminges, but they're waiting on a new coach before making the final decision on those two.
I'm sure the news of a new contract for Mullan makes the rest of the league very happy, particularly in Seattle. ;)
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Sorry I went AWOL on everyone (which I'm guessing is about 5 readers at this point in the offseason ;)) for a few days, stomach flu sucks. A couple of interesting news items came out this week.
- Colorado declined the options on Miguel Comminges, Danny Earls, Steven Emory, and Michael Holody.
Holody's 3 years of service means he's eligible to be selected by other MLS teams in next week's re-entry drafts. The other 3 are either have to work out new deals with the Rapids or hope they can get a team to trade for their rights. The only real surprise here is Comminges. I thought he played fairly well in his time here, but Colorado doesn't seem interested in keeping him. My only guess is that he had a significant salary escalation clause if his option was picked up and the Rapids want him, but not at the higher price. Declining the option gives Colorado the chance of renegotiating now.
The other oddity was protecting Danny Earls in the expansion draft but then not picking up his option. Maybe the Rapids were really hoping that Montreal would take Folan or Comminges with their current contracts and wanted to leave them exposed, which would have required them to protect Earls as one of the only three remaining internationals.
- The Denver Post reported that Colorado had a 4th coaching candidate in Commerce City for face-to-face interviews on Wednesday.
I'm glad to see things are moving quickly out at the Dick. It sounds like the team is hoping to have somebody in place before things start shutting down for the holidays. According to the Rapids the one thing all 4 candidates so far have in common is that they all have head or assistant coaching experience in MLS. Everyone seems pretty sure that 3 of the candidates are Curt Onalfo, Denis Hamlett, and Steve Ralston. My choice out of those 3 would probably be Hamlett, and I would hate to see Onalfo become the guy. I'm hoping the 4th one is a bit of a wild card like Steve Morrow or Cobi Jones but the heavy favorite seems to be Richie Williams.