Should Real Salt Lake bother with Phase 1 of the Re-Entry draft?

Well since MLS rosters were un-frozen and the trade window opened on Monday it has been RSL at the heart of a majority of the action around the league.  First, it was some rumors but by the time I went to bed on Monday there had been a lot of action, so let’s recap what went down:

  • 4 players had their options declined for 2013 – GK Kyle Reynish, FW Paulo Jr., MF Jonny Steele and FW Emiliano Bonfigli.  Of them both Kyle and Paulo Jr. are eligible for the first phase of the MLS Re-Entry draft which will be held on Friday 12/7.
  • 2 players awarded with contract extensions – Defenders Chris Wingert and Tony Beltran both signed extensions to remain with RSL into the future.
  • The first trade of the day, despite rumors the first officially announced trade was FW Justin Braun to Toronto FC in exchange for 22-year-old DF Aaron Maund.
  • The second trade of the day was one that had started in the rumor mills weeks ago as FW Fabían Espíndola and DF Jamison Olave to the New York Red Bulls in exchange for allocation money.
  • Before the action closed on Monday RSL would announce a third trade as MF Will Johnson to Portland Timbers FC in exchange for allocation money.
  • RSL wasn’t done as they announced on more move on Monday evening as they signed 24-year-old GK Jeff Attinella from the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

That was a lot of action for one day and all in all involved 12 players, RSL lost guys who had played over 9,000 minutes in 2012 and 3 of them were in the top 15 in minutes played for the team.   We all knew that changes were going to come for RSL in the off season, but few expected so many, so quickly.

The moves helped RSL clear over an estimated $1 million from their salary cap, while gaining a rumored $500,000 in allocation money.  However it leaves some huge gaps for RSL, like the fact that the team currently only has one forward on their roster.   So with the first stage of the Re-Entry draft coming up, should RSL be looking to pick up any of the available players?

So the rules for the first stage of the  Re-Entry draft are:

Each club may either select a player from the eligible player list, or pass. Once a team has passed, they may no longer participate in that stage of the Re-Entry Process. Each stage will continue until all 19 clubs have passed on the available players.

Clubs must exercise the option for, or extend a Bona Fide Offer to, players selected in Stage 1.

Players that were out of contract may either accept or reject the Bona Fide Offer. Should a player reject the offer, the drafting club will hold the right of first refusal for that player in MLS. Players with option years left on their contract will automatically be added to the drafting club’s roster.

Clubs may not select their own players in Stage One. Players will have the opportunity to negotiate contracts and sign with their previous clubs after the Stage One draft is complete through 5 p.m. ET on December 12.

So while there are some names that I think would be interesting to see in the Cobalt and Claret of Real Salt Lake, I doubt that it is likely that we will take anyone in phase one.  Here are the guys who catch my interest:

  • Defender Marvell Wynne – a proven starter in MLS with Toronto and Colorado after starting with the New York Red Bulls.  He is a strong physical back with blistering speed, does that sound familiar?  Currently RSL features two defenders (Nat Borchers and Chris Wingert) who had played for the Rapids, and while adding a 3rd would really boost our depth.  The reasons we won’t get him, are his salary is blazingly high with a base last year of $250,000 and total compensation of over $325,000, and the fact that we just tied up a lot of money in Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert.  If he is there after phase one, expect that you might see a lot of teams fighting for his rights.
  • Midfielder Eric Avila – In his 5 years in MLS he just has never broken through with either FC Dallas or with Toronto FC, yet whenever I have watched him play he appears to have the talent and work rate to get it done in MLS.  Perhaps it just is finding the right fit and formation for him, like a RSL diamond? His price tag isn’t nearly as high as that of Marvell, but at over $150,000 in total compensation it is likely he won’t be going anywhere in phase one.  If he is willing to take a much lower deal he might find another place to play, maybe in RSL.
  • Defender/Midfielder Rodney Wallace – I know, I know a lot of people don’t care much for him, but I think he has talent and is a hard worker.  He has the ability to play several defensive focused positions, and that type of flexibility worked well for RSL with a guy like Robbie Russell.  Rodney would require an international spot, but by my account RSL currently has 4 of those open.  Like Avila he has a total compensation of over $150,000 so it is unlikely that RSL would make a move for him in the first phase of the Re-Entry but he is a guy who like the others might get a look in phase two if they are willing to take a pay cut in order to play for Real Salt Lake.

All of this means that I doubt that RSL is going to make a move on Friday, but they may as we get into the second phase of the Re-Entry draft where the rules change to:

In Stage Two, clubs may select from players that are under contract and those not under contract. If a player is not under contract, the drafting club will be required to make a genuine offer to the player within seven days. In the event that an agreement cannot be reached between the drafting club and an out-of-contract player, the drafting club will hold the right of first refusal for that player in MLS.

Clubs may select their own players in the Stage Two draft only after all other clubs have declined to select those players.

If a player is not selected in either stage of the Re-Entry Process, that player will be available on a first come first serve basis to all clubs.

One thing is clear to me, I think those 3 players all have a future in MLS, and I would love to see them get a chance with RSL if they are willing to take a major pay cut.

That’s How I See It

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