Two big announcements today. We got the list of re-signed and released players and we got the protected list for the expansion draft. First the roster news. Here's the current status of everyone (other than Juan Ramirez):
Players already under contract for 2017: K. Doyle, Gashi, Howard, Powers, Williams
Players who's option for 2017 was picked up today: Badji, Berner, Burch, Burling, Calvert, Castillo, Miller, Serna, Sjoberg
New long-term contracts signed today: Azira, Cronin, Hairston, MacMath, Watts
Options declined today: C. Doyle, Pappa, Pfeffer, St. Ledger
Out of contract: Jones, Le Toux
If you remember my roster write up from Saturday I had 11 players on the Keep list, 10 of which were confirmed to be signed for 2017 today. Greenspan being traded yesterday prevented a clean sweep of my list. I also had 6 players on my Keep But Look For An Upgrade list, all of which are now under contract for 2017. I had 5 on my Trade/Sell list but it appears we're just releasing two of them, Pappa and Jones (though if Jones isn't selected in the expansion draft we'd still retain his rights). We kept Powers, MacMath, and Ramirez and hopefully we get value for them. All 3 names on my Cut list got cut (C. Doyle, Le Toux, St. Ledger), while one of my unknowns was kept (Castillo) and one was cut (Pfeffer).
The announcement did include that the team is in discussions with some of the cut players to bring them back under different contacts. If I had to guess that would be Pfeffer and maybe Conor Doyle.
Overall we have 19 players under contract for 2017, though we can expect a couple of these players to not start the season on the roster through trades, sales, or cuts. Its a solid core to build around and we can now focus on looking for difference makers to help the offense.
Also today the team released its list of protected players for tomorrow's Expansion Draft that will happen at noon MT.
Auto Protected Homegrown Players:
Zach Pfeffer (despite being declining his option we retain his rights and he could be selected tomorrow)
A couple of surprises on that list. I picked 8 of the 11 correctly on Saturday but I had Burch,, Burling, and Watts protected over Badji, MacMath, and Miller. MacMath is understandable if the team thinks there's more value in trading him than using him as the carrot to be the only Rapid picked tomorrow. I'm surprised at Badji or Miller over Watts, a number of columnist have already identified Watts as one of the best possible pickups for Atlanta or Minnesota tomorrow. Burch and Burling provide veteran leadership and I'm a little surprised to see Badji valued over them. Miller at least plays a hard to fill position (left or right back) so there's some understanding there.
All that said, I still think the deals with both expansion teams yesterday included an understanding that nobody from the Rapids will be picked tomorrow. If I'm wrong though then I think the most likely pick is either Watts or Pappa.