Saturday, December 10, 2016

2016 Roster Review and Expansion Draft Prediction

Its been a little late coming but I'm finally getting around to my annual roster review.  Afterwards I'll also project who I think the Rapids will protect in next week's expansion draft.

This is my breakdown of what I think Colorado should do with each player, given the realities of MLS's player acquisition rules and current contract statuses (as best we know them).  I'll like the player's position and their 2016 base salary as well.

M Micheal Azira, 63K - Might be the best deal in the league at 63K.  Should have played more down the stretch
GK John Berner, 63K - He'll be needed to start thee season until Howard is healthy
F Caleb Calvert, 75K - Young and likes some of what we saw this year.  Also apparently retains his homegrown designation
M Sam Cronin, 225K - Surprisingly maybe the key to the team this year.  We saw how much it hurt not to have him in the final game
F Shkelzen Gashi, 1.575M  - Took a while to get settled but I think there's more to come
D Joe Greenspan, 51.5K - Young, looked good at times, no brainer to keep him
M Marlon Hairston, 90K - Probably took the biggest step forward of any player this year.  Can't wait to see him contribute more regularly next year
GK Tim Howard, 2.1M - Duh
M Dillon Serna, 66K - Equally duh.  Hopefully he bounces back from the ACL well
D Axel Sjoberg, 66K - Keep him and give him a raise
D Jared Watts, 68K - Another one that took a surprising step forward this year.  Still want him as a backup not as a starter though

Keep for now, be looking for an upgrade:
F Dominque Badji, 53.5K - Barring a huge step forward in his shooting ability he's nothing more than a later game speedy super sub.  Nice to have but if there's an option to improve by moving him we should.
D Marc Burch, 120K - I could see moving him into the keep list but that price tag is a bit high
D Bobby Burling, 110K - If Pablo sees him as a starter next to Axel then we can keep him.  If he's going to back up Watts though we can probably do better or get cheaper (or both)
F Kevin Doyle, 1.075M - I love his passion and his leadership, but we're just not getting enough out of him.  If we could bring him back at about a third of the price I'd be good keeping him.  He's going to be hard to replace though, unless we have an option on his contract.
D Eric Miller, 66.4K - Young, has potential, but looked really bad late in the season
D Mekeli Williams, 85K - Started hot but fell off as the season went on.  We can probably do better at outside back

M Jermaine Jones, 600K - Reports are he's already talking to LA.  Trade his rights there and move on
GK Zac MacMath, 140K - He deserves a chance to start some where and that's to much to pay for a backup GK
M Marco Pappa, 110K - Not a fit for Pablo's system
M Dillon Powers, 270K - He needs a fresh start somewhere else.  Maybe Blackburn?
M Juan Ramirez, 85K - He's done in Colorado, get what we can for him

F Conor Doyle, 66K - Did nothing this year
M Sebastien Le Toux, 300K - Way too much for way too little
D Sean St. Ledger, 192K - Literally did nothing this year

Unknown/Too Little Info:
D Dennis Castillo, 51.5K - Not enough playing time to really know
M Zach Pfeffer, 101K - Pfeffer retained his homegrown player designation so he's probably worth keeping but I haven't seen him all season so who knows

That leaves us 8 to replace and 6 to upgrade.  That's a bit much so we can expect that we won't upgrade every one of those players and somebody like Conor Doyle or Dillon Powers may hang around.

The first thing to be concerned about though is Tuesday's Expansion Draft.  Here are the basic rules:

  • Atlanta United and Minnesota United will each get 5 picks
  • No team can lose more than 1 player
  • Teams can protect 11 players, 3 of which must be internationals
  • Homegrown and Generation Adidas players are automatically protected on top of the 11
  • Anyone with a no-trade clause must be included in the 11 protected players
Given that, here's what I predict/suggest for our protected list:

Homegrown players:
  • Caleb Calvert
  • Zack Pfeffer
  • Dillon Serna
(Yes, Calvert and Pfeffer kept their homegrown designations after being acquired by Colorado, per MLS)

Possible Generation Adidas players:
  • Marlon Hairston
  • Eric Miller
The time when a player "graduates" from Generation Adidas is not made public so its possible neither, one, or both of these players will be auto-protected.  I've heard both things about Hairston so far.  We shouldn't use a slot on Miller if he's not protected but we should on Hairston.

  • Kevin Doyle - If we have any thought of bringing him back
  • Shkelzen Gashi - Probably has a no-trade clause but worth protecting anyway
  • Axel Sjoberg - Easy choice, he's a cornerstone of our defense
Remaining List:
  • Micheal Azira - Would be a steal for either team
  • Marc Burch - Worth keeping rather than letting go for nothing
  • Bobby Burling - See Marc Burch
  • Sam Cronin - Fairly obvious, a key piece of our midfield
  • Tim Howard - Probable no-trade clause plus we put way too much into him to take any risks
  • Dillon Powers - Worth too much to let him go for free
  • Jared Watts - Surprisingly I think he needs to be protected
  • Marlon Hairston - If not auto-protected, otherwise the coach's opinion of the player with the most potential out of Badji, Castillo, Greenspan, and Williams
The goal here is that leaving MacMath and Pappa unprotected entices Atlanta or Minnesota to pick one of them protecting the rest of the roster.  So my final combined list of protected players would be:

Azira, Burch, Burling, Calvert, Cronin, K.Doyle, Hairston, Howard, Gashi, Pfeffer, Powers, Serna, Sjoberg, Watts, and possibly one young player with potential.

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