Let’s begin the expansion draft dance, shall we?
Some rules of the road:
- The rules allow teams to protect eleven players.
- United must protect one of their international players (Jakovic or Boskovic).
- I’m going to make the assumption that Kitchen will be graduated from GenAd and thus will need to be protected.
- I’m going to make the futher assumption (risky, I know) that our current crop of off-budget home grown players (Hamid, Najar, Shanosky, White) are not in danger of having their status changed and thus don’t need to be protected. I’ll still include them in the initial player evaluation stage…
Speaking of which, let’s have at it. I’ll go through the roster player-by-player and assign a status of either PROTECT (on the list), BUBBLE (under consideration for the list), or EXPOSE (definitely not list-material). Off-budget home grown players will have a status of N/A since they don’t need to be protected. On with the show as we tackle the first third of the roster…
BARKLAGE, Brandon (M/D, 24) - Scraped onto the roster this year, but only managed extremely limited minutes in another injury-plagued campaign. EXPOSE
BOSKOVIC, Branko (M, 31) - Injury wrecked the DP’s first full season with United. Don’t know if he has a no-trade clause (thus necessitating protecting him), but I’ll assume not. Certainly talented and fills a creative void in midfield, but injury and questions about his return for 2012 put him on the BUBBLE.
BRETTSCHNEIDER, Blake (F, 22) - Had a decent enough rookie season though he couldn’t replicate his free-scoring pre-season form when push came to shove. Worth considering for protection, but probably on the outer edge of the BUBBLE.
BURCH, Marc (D, 27) - Burch is 27? Huh, how about that? The FO’s mysterious obsession with Burch will probably see them protect him, but he’s an oft-injured, marginal left back who struggled to displace a USL-quality defender in Woolard. To the surprise of no faithful readers of this blog, I set my phaser to EXPOSE.
CRONIN, Steve (GK, 28) - Promised much during his loan deal at the end of 2010, but stumbled badly when called upon in 2011, eventually losing the backup spot to a rookie. EXPOSE
DA LUZ, Austin (M, 24) - Midseason acquisition saw spot duty throughout the stretch run and while he didn’t shine, he certainly didn’t look hopeless either. Good depth player but not a lock to protect. BUBBLE
DAVIES, Charlie (F, 25) - First really big call, eh? Decent rate of return in goals, but never really looked like the player he used to be. Ill-timed lawsuit filed during the most important part of the season demonstrated commitment to self over team, lack of responsibility for his own actions, and tacit acknowledgment that he’s never going to be what he was (which was never really top-drawer international anyway, but certainly enough to be great in MLS). Bitching about playing time when you don’t deserve to be on the pitch doesn’t help his cause. If Sochaux were willing to bargain-bin him, and he’d accept a salary that matches what he’s worth, I’d consider protecting him. You think either are likely to happen? Me neither. EXPOSE
DE ROSARIO, Dwayne (M/F, 33) - Yes, he’s 33, but he’s still class. Yes, he’ll probably need to be on DP money that we’ll have to foot the full bill for in 2012. But contrast his behavior during the stretch run (calling out underperformers, putting off talking contract extension as a distraction until the season ended, still contributing goals and assists despite lingering injuries and excessive mileage on legs in 2011) with Davies. PROTECT. Duh.
HAMID, Bill (GK, 20) - Still not the full package, but a rightful starter at 20 and only going to get better. Doesn’t have to be protected due to his home grown status, but I would in a heartbeat if he did have to be. N/A.
So that wraps up the first third of the roster. To summarize…
- PROTECT: De Rosario
- EXPOSE: Barklage, Burch, Cronin, Davies
- BUBBLE: Boskovic, Brettschneider, Da Luz
- N/A: Hamid
Hmmm. Something tells me we may be struggling to fill that protected list. I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am…